Merry music at the holiday band concert

Libertyville High School band students performed their festive holiday concert, featuring classical and more modern pieces, on Dec.12; this was the final concert of 2017.

On Tuesday Dec. 12, members of Libertyville High School’s band performed “A Holiday Concert” in the Libertyville High School Butler Lake Auditorium. The concert consisted of the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble.

The Concert Band, which performed first, is the youngest of the four bands and consists of mostly underclassmen. Their first piece was the charming arrangement of “All Glory Told,” composed by James Swearingen and conducted by Mr. Matthew Karnstedt. Their second and final piece, a cheerful arrangement titled “A Cambridge Carol,” was composed by Vince Gassi and conducted by Mr. Adam Gohr. The Concert Band energetically performed the arrangement before they took their bows.

The Symphonic Band performed shortly after, with their first piece being the “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka” composed by Johann Strauss Jr. and arranged by Alfred Reed. Following shortly after, the band played a different piece that notably intrigued the audience, as everyone delightfully looked towards the stage while the students performed “In the Bleak Midwinter,” composed by Gustav Holst and arranged by Robert W. Smith. The piece was strongly conducted, with grand transitions in the percussion section.

The Symphonic Winds played beautifully, showcasing a modern classical piece composed by James Curnow tited “Rejouissance.” The tune highlighted the vibrant trumpet section and the festivity of the holiday season.

Fine Arts Department Supervisor, Mr. Dustin Helvie, conducted the Symphonic Winds, which consists of students from all grade levels. Their second and final song, “Minor Alterations,” was described in the program as “Christmas through a looking-glass,” and replicated the tune of many beloved Christmas songs, such as “Up on the Housetop,” ‘Silver Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” This modern piece was composed by David Lovrien.

The final band to perform was the Wind Ensemble, the most advanced group within LHS’s band program. Their pieces were intricately played and had grand musical diversity among each section. Their final and most festive song was “Festive Overture, Op. 96,” composed by Dimitri Shostakovich, transcribed specifically for instruments by Donald Hunsberger.

The holiday concert is a tradition that has lived since the beginning of Libertyville High School, Mr. Gohr explained at the end of the concert. Mr. Gohr further noted that this holiday band concert is the last concert of the LHS celebration for the centennial.

Students chosen to perform in the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-State Band were recognized at the concert. The selectees are seniors: Beck Ghantous, Meredith Goldin, Ainslie Lounsbury and Melissa Manetsch; and juniors: Eloise Hides, David Lee, Matthew Neuberger and Carter Smith. Those selected will be performing for the ILMEA in January.

Senior Xavier Lumpuy was also recognized, as he is graduating from LHS early at the end of the first semester in the 2017-2018 school year.

Finally, all seniors in band joined the Wind Ensemble to perform the finale of the evening: “Sleigh Bells,” a tradition that began when Libertyville High School’s holiday band concerts began, Mr. Gohr explained. The audience sat smiling, as they listened to the cheerful tune of “Sleigh Ride,” a reminder of the joyful holiday season.

On Dec. 27, members from the LHS band will leave to travel to the United Kingdom over the course of their winter break. Most excitingly, the band will be performing while marching in the London New Year’s parade. They will perform selected songs from the holiday concert on their trip.