Musicians from Ballard High School are gearing up for their Winter Concert Series, happening Dec. 18 to 20.
The three different concerts — choir on the 18th, band on the 19th, and orchestra on the 20th — will feature selections from Handel’s Messiah for a Choral-Orchestral masterwork finale. Each evening will also include a culmination of a “masterwork performance”, with the full symphonic orchestra and choir. According to BHS, the Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra will come together for the finale, featuring more than 200 students on stage.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, director Courtney Rowley will lead the choirs in presentations of Felix Mendelssohn’s beautiful Laudate Pueri, John Gardner’s adaptation of the traditional English carol Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, and Allan Naplan’s stunning Schlof Main Kind, a Yiddish lullaby for women’s choir and cello. Concert Choir will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo, from his magnificent All-Night Vigil. This Russian Orthodox masterpiece was written in 1915 and is considered Rachmaninoff’s finest accomplishment. The evening will also include holiday favorites Ding Dong Merrily on High, Santa Baby, and All I Want for Christmas is You. Selections from the Choral-Orchestral Masterwork, Handel’s Messiah, will be performed after an intermission.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, director Michael James will lead the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble in a wonderful evening of a varied repertoire. Concert Band will perform Let My Spirit Sing by Julie Giroux and Olympus by Barry Kopetz. Symphonic Band will perform Undertow by John Mackey, which features a strong percussion section and exciting, driving rhythms; Lassus Trombone by Henry Fillmore, which will feature the entire trombone section; and a wonderful arrangement of Greensleeves by Alfred Reed. The Wind Ensemble will close their portion of the concert with the fresh harmonies of Hold This Boy and Listen by contemporary composer Carter Pan; the third movement of William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony; and the winter favorite Sleigh Ride. Selections from the Choral-Orchestral Masterwork, Handel’s Messiah, will be performed after an intermission.
On Thursday, Dec. 20, the BHS Fiddlers will start the night and knock your socks off with a hard-driving set of danceable fiddle tunes. Next, the Symphonic Orchestra, under the direction of Elizabeth Fortune, will present two classics for string orchestra: Frances L. Feese’s mixed meter, mixed texture Contrasts in E Minor, and the famous and celebratory Andante Festivo by Jean Sibelius. The monster bass section is also preparing to light up the night with a super-secret bass-ensemble surprise. The Chamber Orchestra will perform a movement from Carl Nielsen’s Little Suite for Strings, Movement II: Intermezzo – a wonderful piece evoking childhood holiday cheer. They will follow that with their exciting second installment of Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings, with a performance of Movement III: Scherzo. The combined Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras will feature the tune Sky Pond, written by violinist and composer Andy Reiner from Colorado, who spent an afternoon with the performers working on laying down the groove and improvising over it. The piece will also feature improvised student solos. Selections from the Choral-Orchestral Masterwork, Handel’s Messiah, will be performed after an intermission.
“The Masterwork finale piece performed at each concert is especially spectacular, and with the holiday favorite Handel’s Messiah, this year will likely be a standing room only crowd,” Rachel Hart Rios from the BHS performing arts program tells My Ballard.
General admission seating is free to the public, with doors opening shortly after 7pm each night, with a 7:30pm start-time. Assigned seating can be reserved for a donation to the music program — book your tickets online and search “Ballard” for the list of events.
All performances will be at the Earl Kelly Center for Performing Arts at Ballard High School (1418 NW 65th St).