On Dec. 12-13, Archer hosted its annual Winter Concert. This event brings musical talent from both the Upper School and Middle School Choirs and Orchestras.
The first to perform was the Middle School Choir. Energetic, yet collected, they opened the night with high expectations. Halfway through the performance, the middle school students had lost some of their nervousnesss and became more open with the audience—creating an inviting and intriguing environment.
They were followed by the Middle School Orchestra, who began with a beautiful piece titled “Into the Sky.” There were significantly more violin players then anything else, but the other instruments were not overpowered by the powerful violin section. The musicians came together to create a truly pleasant performance ending with “Frosty the Snow Man” and a smile on every audience member’s face.
In between the Middle and Upper School performances, the Upper School Chamber Ensemble and Archer’s a cappella group The Unaccompanied Minors performed. The Chamber Ensemble consists of two violinists, one flutist and two cellists. The small group of musicians performed a dream-like rendition of “Dance of the Reed Pipes” that left the audience in awe.
The Unaccompanied Minors is an Upper School a capella group that is impressively well-knitted and eclectic. They performed three songs, ”Let it Be,” “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Summer Mashup.” They began with “Let it Be,” which opened up and quieted the crowd. This piece featured well-chosen and smooth solos by members Kathleen Kelso ’14 and Leah Doornink ’14. The rest of the group’s renditions were as strong as the first, with comical beat-boxing by junior Olivia Bagg ’15.
Next, the Upper School Choir greeted the stage with harmonious and complex performances of tranquil and holiday songs. Their last song, “Jingle Bells”—arranged by Mark Hayes—was exciting and slightly eccentric. They played with strong differences in volume and emotion but were still harmonious.
The incredibly talented Upper School Orchestra performed five difficult and well-known pieces with impeccable execution. From Bach to Mozart, they performed strongly and beautifully, keeping all ears intrigued and minds rapt. This group does not have a bass player this year, but this added depth to their performances.
This year’s Winter Concert had two separate finales instead of one. The first was all Upper School groups combined together in a recital of “Eskimo” by Damien Rice, arranged by Choir Director Ryan Hutchison. All of the talented voices of the Upper School combined with Upper School musicians created a sense of togetherness and beautiful, simple closure.
For the second finale, the Middle School joined the stage to sing along with the rest of the performers to “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine. With energy and pure enjoyment, the entire room became a part of this final, encircling performance.
Sadly, the Winter Concert was the last Archer show we will have with our Choir Director Ryan Hutchinson, but don’t doubt that this show was a perfect one to end with. It encompassed the true meaning of Archer Family and left a great amount of anticipation for the next musical performance that graces Archer’s campus.
Featured Image: The Double Bass. Photographer: Rosemary Pastron