Spring Concert Preview

Kokayi Jones and Kieran McDonnell at a preview Middle School Concert (Image by Jay Goradetzer)

May is here – and that means it’s time for the Middle School Instrumental and Choral Concert this Friday at 7 pm! These students have been giving up advisories and working tirelessly for over 4 months to showcase their musical talent through their musical instruments, voices, and even iPads. Plus, performers and viewers can end the night with cookies and lemonade.

So, what should you expect?

The evening will begin with performances from the orchestra. The first piece that will be played is the overture from “The Magic Flute,” an opera written by the famous W.A. Mozart. We will then move to another overture, a waltz-like piece known as “The Beautiful Galatea” by Franz von Suppé. The third piece that we will play is unique in the way that three students of Friends’ Central composed it; two of us are writing this article. Ben Allen, Charlie Szwartz, and Liam Giszter composed a piece that is known as “A Short Piece for Orchestra.” Finally, the fourth piece will be “March From Carmen,” yet another fast-paced overture from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.”

Between the orchestra and the iPad ensemble, there will be some chamber music. While we don’t have much information on this, Mr. Bradley mentioned in an interview that there will be a surprise trio playing. If you want to know more, come to the concert on Friday night.

The Middle School iPad Ensemble is a not-very-well-known group consisting of students playing music on their iPads. They have been creating and practicing a song called “CLESSS” (an acronym of the six members of the Ensemble). Since everyone in the iPad Ensemble just happens to be eighth graders, this may be their final performance, so the Concert could be their grand finale.

The Jazz Band will be playing four songs for the Concert. First will be “Footprints”, composed by Wayne Shorter. Next is a piece by the legendary Miles Davis, titled “All Blues”. Then the Jazz Band will play the famous Bossa Nova “Una Mas” by Kenny Dorham. Finally, the Jazz Band will end with “Jesus Children” by Stevie Wonder.

The final ensemble of the night is the Middle School Chorus. You probably aren’t familiar with “Niška Banja,” a beautiful Serbian folk song that the chorus will be singing first. However, you probably know the classics “Simple Gifts” and “Amazing Grace.” These songs will be put together into a song that was already performed at the all-school assembly known as “Simple Grace.” Next, we’ll be speeding things up with “Sir Duke,” an upbeat funk song by Stevie Wonder. This song will feature yours truly, Ben Allen, on trumpet. Then, the atmosphere will drastically slow down with the melancholy song “Say Something” by A Great Big World. The following song will only be performed by eighth grade members of chorus, “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway musical “Wicked.” Lastly, the classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey will be the culminating song of the concert.

We interviewed Mr. Bradley and asked him questions about the concert. Here are the questions that we asked at what he replied.

What do you expect for Friday evening?

I expect to have a lot of fun and the students to play really well, and I’m really excited about having new music performed.

Why did you choose the pieces that you chose for your ensembles?

Whenever we do a concert, I always try to pick pieces that each ensemble would play well. For orchestra, we’re playing some overtures, and for jazz band, we’re doing pieces that highlight each musician’s strengths.

Do you think that everyone is prepared for the concert?


Do you have anything else to say about the concert?

I’m excited that we’re playing a piece written by students from the orchestra. I’m also looking forward to having some chamber music in the concert. There will be a trio before the iPad ensemble plays.

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