Final concerts celebrate music, recognize seniors

Wrapping up the end of the school year, the music department will be hosting an array of final concerts.

After a near clean sweep of Division I’s at Large Group contest this past weekend, ensembles from orchestra, band and choir are utilizing judges critique to vamp up their end-of-year performances.

Orchestra instructor Scott Hall has high hopes for the success of the upcoming concert. “Senior players will be recognized, and this should be a great concert with some wonderful music. It’s a wonderful way to end the year with all these great, talented students.” Such aforementioned music includes all pieces performed at Large Group with the addition of a hoedown and a harp feature with Ann Fienup. As an added bonus, senior vocal soloist Sarah Welter will be accompanying the orchestra with “The Laughing Song” from the classic opera “Die Fledermaus.”

Over in choral music, instructor Eliott Kranz and the men’s, women’s and concert choirs are still concentrating on music preparation after contest. “You basically get to perform Large Group again using judges’ comments to improve, so we hopefully sound even better. This concert is a chance to say goodbye to the seniors who’ve put their time and effort into the program to make it what it is.” Along with large group pieces like the French “Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser” performed by women’s choir, the men’s choir rendition of “The Quest Unending,” and Moses Hogan’s fiery spiritual “The Battle of Jericho” as performed by the concert choir, the choirs will be joining to perform the to-be-determined graduation song sung at commencement ceremonies.

Band directors Kyle Engelhardt and Gerald Ramsey look forward to their ensembles’ final performances of the year, encompassed in a night that also serves as an evening for senior recognition and acknowledgment of other music-related success throughout the year. “The final concert is a great capstone for the senior class,” Engelhardt said. “It’s fun to do Large Group pieces and then add a tune or two, but this night gives the seniors a chance to perform in the auditorium one last time.” Engelhardt’s symphonic band will be performing pieces like “Ignition” by Todd Stalter, and Ramsey’s wind symphony will continue the night with “Armenian Dances” by Alfred Reed.

Seniors concluding their music career in the Cedar Falls school system reflect on the significance of their final concerts, symbolic representations of experiences transcending mere music. “The music department has always been a home for me. I’ve found some of my best friends here, along with some of the greatest role models I’ve ever met,” senior John Paul Sevcik said. “There’s a quote that says, ‘Music is what emotions sound like,’ and at some of these concerts you can literally feel some of the things people emote as they perform. It’s indescribable.”
Fellow senior musician Dylan Martin shares a similar sentiment, reflecting on the nostalgia yet to come. “[The music department] has given me somewhere to go back to when things become too overwhelming. You find teachers who are obviously doing what they want to be doing with their lives, and you know they truly value the influence they have on their students,” Martin said.

“As someone who plans to go into the arts for their own career, I’m very lucky to have had passionate teachers to model my future after.”

Orchestra will perform its final concert May 14, choir on May 21 and band on May 22. Each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium, admission being $5 for adults and $4 for students for each respective event. Activity passes will be accepted.

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