The Spring Concert

Carolina C., Columnist

In the final stretch of the school year St. Robert students and teachers anticipate many events, such as field day, the musical, and teacher appreciation week. One very important event that takes place toward the end of the school year is the spring concert. On May 23rd, the St. Robert middle school’s band, choir, and strings music groups performed for many parents and loved ones. This is a very important concert for the school as sadly, it is the last time the current band director, Mr. Zolinski, will be leading the band through the program. 

A new addition to the concert this year will be a full group ensemble performance for 7th and 8th graders. The band is collaborating with the choir and strings for one last song to close out the concert. Mr. Zolinski explained, “Earlier this year, I brought up to the other two directors that we should combine band, choir, and strings for the final concert; the last time we were able to do this was all the way back in 2019, and I wanted to bring a collaborative song back. It was Mr. Perez’s idea to do the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, and Ms. Rohde happened to have a vocal arrangement. I took that vocal arrangement, added band and string instruments using my notation software, and just like that, we had a full arrangement ready to go for all of the 7th and 8th graders!” Bringing together the varying musical groups is a very difficult task, but the directors were determined to pull it off for the last concert. They wanted to provide a memorable end to the performance and positive experience for the concert overall. Also, Mr. Zolinski has been working on organizing practice schedules for everybody in the band for the concert in order to be able to play these pieces. It takes a lot of work and effort to be in charge for so much for the concert, but Mr. Zolinski can handle it!

Sophie is an eighth grader at St. Robert. She plays in the band as well as the string ensemble. Sophie has to practice a lot because she plays so many songs for the concert, but she notes, “I always enjoy the pieces I get for the band. They are just hard enough to be a bit of a challenge, but not too hard where you are losing sleep over it. The pieces I do for cello are a bit harder, but they are always super satisfying when they are finished.” As the concert drew closer Sophie needed to practice even more to make sure everything went smoothly. She needed to split up her rehearsals between her two instruments so that she was able to go to band class as well as strings. Also -as mentioned – the band, strings, and choir came together to play a combined piece for the audience. Sophie says, “The combined piece is quite an adventure. All three teachers have a very different teaching style, so watching them all come together to try to get everyone to do their best is interesting. As a cellist who is used to playing in a small group, playing with the cello with the giant band and choir is really different. I like adventure.” 

In the strings ensemble for 7th and 8th grade, they are normally playing with under ten performers. The string ensemble now has to play with over 60 other students in the combined ensemble, a very new experience for them. Sophie claims that all three musical groups are very different and unique in their own ways, and she is thrilled to see the final product. Sophie is working very hard with the strings to try and pull off this big song with everybody, and it is not easy. Over the years Sophie has been bouncing back and forth between the two music ensembles but it is not as easy as it seems: “I randomly worry that I’ll go to the wrong class or the wrong room and be stupendously lost. Luckily, I haven’t done that yet. My teachers and classmates all do an excellent job at telling me what I need to do. In the past, the concerts stressed me out because I never knew where to go and when. Over the years I’ve learned that I have no reason to worry. Like I already stated, my teachers and classmates are amazing when it comes to catching me up on what I need to do.” Playing two challenging instruments can be difficult, not just in terms of practicing but also keeping up with all of the practice schedules in and out of school. 

Jacob,  a 7th grader who plays percussion in the band,  has been a devoted band member since the 5th grade. He is excited for the concert but nervous about the band program changing. Jacob likes performing as he is in the musical and also on the forensics team: I think it is important to perform because it is a great experience for me and my family.” Jacob finds joy in performing for his loved ones and is very enthusiastic for this upcoming concert. He is so happy that he is able to share what he has been working on in and out of school for the past several months with the families at St. Robert. Performing has always been something Jacob loved doing, and he takes every opportunity to be able to share his talents whether that be playing the snare drum in band or singing in the musical. 

As the concert approached, Jacob had to prepare in many different ways because he plays different instruments on percussion for different songs. He does a lot of practicing at home. Playing percussion is a big task because the percussion keeps the band on beat. Jacob had to practice his parts over and over to make sure he didn’t mess up during the rehearsals or the concert, ensuring success for the band. Jacob was looking forward to working with the other music ensembles, I think the choir and strings are a nice addition to the concert song, Hallelujah.” The band, choir, and strings had met up on Mondays during their rehearsals to practice for the concert in the weeks leading up to the event.

There was a lot of hard work that goes into the spring concert, but in the end, it was all worth it. The audience was impressed and enchanted by the middle school’s musical talents.

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