Spring Concert: The Last Performance of the Year for Strings


Shiloh Emanuel

Orchestra performing May 3, 2019 with Mr. O’Rane conducting

Shiloh Emanuel , Journalist

On Friday, May 3, 2019, Madrigals, Orchestra, Beginning Strings, and Advanced Strings dressed up for their final performance of the year. This night was especially important because of the seniors as this would be their last time that they got to sing and play their instruments as a University Prep student. With this in mind, Mr. O’Rane made sure that the collaborating music groups went out with a bang.

The  whole concert started off with Beginning Strings grabbing everyone’s attention with the instantly recognizable song called ‘Spring’ by By Antonio Vivaldi. After this, the strings played a Slavic song that was similar in style called ‘Dance of the Samodivi’ by Soon Hee Newbold. After this, they played a versatile song called ‘El Torro’ which had strong melodies and many rhythmic changes which definitely impressed the crowd.

Shiloh Emanuel
Mr. O’Rane conducting Beginning Strings for their performance of ‘Dance of the Samodivi’ by Soom Hee Newbold.

Seventh grader Emily Thornton was performing with beginning band and was excited about their last performance of the year. When Thornton was asked how she felt about the last performance, she replied, “I think it is going to pretty good because I feel like we [Beginning Strings] made a lot of progress this year.” Continuing on, she stated that she knew the performance was going to go well because “Mr. O’Rane is a really good teacher and taught us the music really well.”

Right after Beginning Strings performance, Advanced Strings picked up right where they left off. In contrast to Beginning Strings, Advanced Strings played more songs from pop culture. This was an intentional choice by Mr. O’Rane saying, “Last semester we did a classical presentation and this semester we are doing more of a Pop culture presentation.”  This allowed his students to play more freely and to “grow to play different styles.”

First, the Advanced Strings played the popular Beatles tune ‘Eleanor Rigby’ which showcased Advanced String’s ability to play many parts together to recreate the sought after vibe of the song. After this, Advanced Strings played ‘Rey’s Theme’ from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which put a smile on the faces of many of the Star Wars fans in the audience.

After this, Mr. O’Rane stepped away from the conducting stand and walked back to the Tech table to reveal a Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet, to which the audience cheered in approval.

A Junior who was in attendance, named Cameron Quijada, said that when she saw the Infinity Gauntlet, it gave her the chills and said “it made my inner fangirl come out.”

Lastly Advanced strings played music from ‘The Avengers’ with the help of Orchestra as Mr. O’Rane conducted the whole song using the Infinity Gauntlet. This song was performed so well that it earned a standing ovation as Mr. O’Rane raised his gauntlet in the air in the shape of a fist to show everyone the tempting glow of the infinity stones one last time.

As Mr. O’Rane spent time catching his breath from the rigorous work of a conductor, the flautist, Ashley Cano, played a song with a piano accompaniment. The song was soft and elegant and was played to perfection by the Senior flautist. As the song was being played, the whole gym was quiet, the only thing audible was Ashley’s playing and the occasional ‘ooh’s’ and ‘awe’s’ from the crowd as she hit high notes with ease.

Sophomore and Madrigals performer Raylee Lewis commented on Cano’s performance, “She was amazing. It was so peaceful and lovely.” Junior Frida Sorenson shared that same sentiment and continued, “She is really talented and I loved her performance.” It is safe to say audience was definitely pleased by the solo performance.

After Ashley’s beautiful performance, it was none other than Orchestra’s job to keep up the energy.

The first song that Orchestra played was ‘Fantastic Beasts’ by James Newton Howard and John Williams. ‘Fantastic Beast’ was both mysterious and was strangely alluring at certain moments.

Next was was the western themed song titled ‘Hoe down’. This song was very entertaining as it’s up beat tempo and lightning quick notes from the violin section brought smiles to both the audience and the performers in Orchestra during the performance.

To finish off their performance, Orchestra had a slight pause where people all around in their group began to put masks on that covered only half of their faces. The audience watched in confusion as the the pianist gave Mr. O’Rane a thumbs up after putting on a mask of his own. Then, out of nowhere, Orchestra hit the audience with a powerful blast of harmonic sound as to signal the start the  of the song ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

Shiloh Emanuel
Freshman Xiayang Zhang, commonly known as Ray, a pianist, smiling through his mask as Orchestra begins their breath taking performance of Phantom of the Opera

‘Phantom of the Opera’ kept the audience on the edge of their seats as the song jumped back and forth between periods of being steady and calm to periods of being extremely rhythmic and powerful. After the song’s quiet ending, the gym erupted into roaring applause.

After all of the ensembles amazing performances, next came the highly anticipated collaboration songs. Just minutes before the performance, a Beginning Strings student, seventh grader Brian Williams was asked what he looked forward to the most in the concert, to which he responded, “I am excited for ‘Finale’ because we are having David [Scruggs] conduct instead of Mr. O’Rane himself which is a big thing for a T.A. to do.”

Fast forward to the end of the concert, David Scruggs stepped up with his arms outstretched to conduct ‘Finale’ from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for the first time in front of a public audience. The song went on to be performed smoothly and the crowd rewarded Scruggs and his performance with an applause.

After ‘Finale’, Mr.O’Rane began to give a heartfelt speech dedicated to the Seniors of 2019. When speaking with Mr. O’Rane earlier that week about how he felt about this performance being the Seniors last, he said, “It’s bittersweet. I feel a lot of emotions at once, I’m going to truly and sincerely miss them, but I know that we are gonna leave it all on the stage and it’s gonna be a good experience for everyone.”

To end the night, the String groups and Madrigals prepared themselves to perform the last piece of the night, ‘Black Panther’. The song not only signified the end of the performances, but also the last of the Seniors’ performances at UP. Knowing this, the students made sure to give this song everything they had.

From the audience, you could tell that everyone was focused on playing there parts correctly. This song had many special elements to it including, T’challa chants (a sample used from the actual movie), chirping from Madrigals, and a live beat created by the Beginning Strings stomping their feet and clapping in rhythm. All of these elements came together to create one last swan song for the Class of 2019 which, for the second time that night, were given one last standing ovation.