The Oracle

Filed under 2017-2018, Local News

Cadenza!

Mr. Whitman leads the audience in singing

Mr. Whitman leads the audience in singing "America The Beautiful" along with the orchestra for the concert's finale. Photo by Ann Mai

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A majority of people who don’t play an instruments would automatically categorize orchestral music as boring and/or soporific. Many non-musicians would call it all classical music when the classical period was only one of many different stylistic eras. To prove these people wrong–every year since 1992–East’s orchestras put on a themed showcase that is called the Cadenza Concert.

“Cadenza Concert” is an unfamiliar name to alumni because this themed concert was formerly known as the Finale Concert because it would be the very last concert of the year. However in the last 15 years–when LPS started its District Music Contest in April– Finale was no longer the last concert of the year. The concert has also gotten earlier and earlier to accommodate for other groups that need the stage in the spring, being the earliest it’s ever been on Valentine’s Day last year. The concert was moved another week earlier for 2018. Due to its movement in the year’s schedule, the themed show has now been dubbed as the “Cadenza Concert.”

Cadenza is a term that describes a virtuoso, thematic solo passage inserted into a concerto, typically near the end. This concert is also used to feature senior soloists who play concertos that usually have cadenzas that stand out from the rest of the piece. Per Varsity Orchestra Director Mr. Del Whitman, this concert’s mantra has always been to “Do something different,”, so its new name fits perfectly with its purpose to celebrate the year with a fun, themed concert that also features a couple phenomenal musicians.

Senior Jesse West performs the first movement of Cello Concerto No. 1 In C Major written by Joseph Haydn, accompanied by a chamber-sized ensemble. Photo by Ann Mai

The 2018 senior soloists Emma Jewell and Jesse West. The orchestra conductors aim to pick the two best-prepared soloists who present concertos that embody two different music styles. Although they are both cellists, West performed the classical cello concerto written by Haydn while Jewell showcased the romantic Elgar Cello Concerto. West was accompanied by a smaller ensemble with only four or five stands per section–simply for the nature of the piece– while Jewell’s piece required woodwinds and brass from East’s Wind Symphony to join the full Varsity orchestra.

Senior Emma Jewell performs Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, accompanied by the Full Varsity Orchestra as well as some woodwind and brass players from East’s Wind Symphony. Photo by Ann Mai

Aside from the soloist concertos, the music the orchestras perform is anything but the standard classical. Each Cadenza concert comes with a theme. Past themes include phantom of the opera, pirates, Ireland, video games, Disney, superheroes, and love. In honor of the school’s 50th birthday and its opening in 1967, this year’s theme is The 60s. Students will be presenting popular songs written by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Turtles.

The students seek to make the concert special by incorporating certain actions during the music as well as dressing up for the theme. For The 60s, the varsity orchestra entered the auditorium from all doors while a video montage of significant moments from the decade of free love and civil rights. Many people wore flowy, flower-printed attire or tie dye shirts with bands or flower crowns adorning their heads. One group of friends even dressed up as the Scooby Doo gang. Video clips and photos were projected behind the orchestra as they played their songs. Some special additions to the set included Erik Strickland (12) singing The Beatles’ Yesterday, Emily Dresbach (12) playing the electric bass guitar, and The Beatles’ logo on the drumset to add an authentic effect.

Another important aspect of the Cadenza concert is that the 8th grade orchestra from Lux Middle School performed as well. The 7th grade orchestra used to also perform, but East’s orchestra numbers have grown so vast that only the 8th graders could attend this year. Mr. Whitman likes inviting the younger students to play on the bigger stage that most of them will occupy in the coming years. They got to open the concert with the national anthem and their two pieces, then join the older orchestras for the grand finale with the theme from Beethoven’s 9th symphony and America The Beautiful. With all three orchestras and members from East’s Wind Symphony, there are roughly 200 students on the stage for the conclusion of the concert.

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Cadenza!