A wonderful evening of music and magic was in store for the Blair community! On Friday, November 19, the Symphony Orchestra, Singers, Chamber Choir and Jazz Ensemble presented the School’s annual Fall Concert in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre. Reuniting on stage for the first time since 2019, our musicians performed a range of works showcasing the skills they’ve mastered this fall.
Performing arts department chair Jennifer Pagotto noted that the musical lineup for the evening included several pieces that were especially enjoyable for students to learn. Among the pieces presented by the Symphony Orchestra are “Russian Sailor’s Dance” by Reinhold Glière, “The Horizon” by Yukiko Nishimura and the classic “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Klaus Badelt, arranged by Ted Ricketts.
The Jazz Ensemble also performed a number of both classic and contemporary pieces, including “Chameleon” by Herbie Hanock, “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson, arranged by Mike Kamuf, and “Só Danço Samba” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Norman Gimbel, arranged by Mark Taylor.
Chloe Lau ’23, who plays the harp in Blair’s Symphony Orchestra, was excited to take the stage again without the COVID-19 restrictions implemented in the 2020-21 school year. “With more time together, the hard work of every member in the orchestra has turned into fruition,” she said. “I was looking forward to showcasing our pieces in the Fall Concert once again, especially for our classic, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ ”
Blair’s vocalists then stepped into the spotlight, under the direction of Blair’s Director of Vocal Music Ryan Manni, offering a varied Fall Concert repertoire. Performance highlights included “Sunset” by Thomas LaVoy, featuring Maria Strulistova ’22 on piano, which was commissioned by the choirs of Blair Academy and dedicated to the class of 2020 as a part of the Dreamsong commissioning project.
Other pieces included “Summertime” by George Evans, “Down in the River to Pray” arranged by Jace Wittig, and “Witness” arranged by Dick Bolks. “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” arranged by Caldwell and Ivory and “Your Soul Is Song” by Jake Runestad will both feature guest accompanist Kathleen Decker on piano.
Nikki Kirkwood ’22 and Sadie Donnelly ’22, who have both been members of the Singers since beginning their time at Blair, credited the program for growing their love of music. Singers as a group, Sadie noted, are supportive and brighten her day at every class meeting and concert. Looking to the Fall Concert, both singers were excited to share their hard work this semester with the entire Blair community.
Since the start of the school year, Mrs. Pagotto and Mr. Manni have looked forward to getting the group back on stage together for a real concert in DuBois Theatre.