Highland shows off their musical talents

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 6/15/22

Last Thursday, the Highland High School Music Department presented their Spring Concert that included performances from their Jazz Ensemble, A Capella, the Choir and the Concert Band. Dan Shaut …

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Highland shows off their musical talents

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Last Thursday, the Highland High School Music Department presented their Spring Concert that included performances from their Jazz Ensemble, A Capella, the Choir and the Concert Band. Dan Shaut directed all of the instrumental music while Erin Matthews handled the vocal selections.

The Jazz Ensemble kicked off the concert with Neil Hefti’s ‘The Creeper, followed by Jeff Jarvis’ “Honk” and legendary bassist/composer Charles Mingus’ composition entitled, “Better Get It In Your Soul.” They concluded their set with “Mr. G.K.” by Mike Carubia.

The A Capella members performed “Attention” that was written by Charlie Puth and Jacob Kasher and arranged by Bryan Sharpe.

Matthews High School Choir began their set with a salute to the Armed Forces that included portions of the Army’s “Caisson Song,” the Coast Guard’s “Semper Paratus,” the “Marine’s Hymn,” the “U.S. Air Force,” and concluding with the Navy’s “Anchor’s Away.”

The song “Stand Up” told the story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, written by Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Campbell, with an arrangement by Roger Emerson.

Next came, “Some Things Never Change,” from the Disney film ‘Frozen 2’ by by Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The Choir concluded their set with “May The Road Rise Up To Meet You,” a traditional Irish blessing that Matthews called her favorite.

The song’s key lyric repeats the refrain:
“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face

May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May you keep safe in the gentle loving arms of God”

The High School Concert Band took to the stage and tackled the complex selection, “The Witch and the Saint,” by Steven Reineke, a one movement tone poem written in 2004. It tells the story of Helena and Sibylla, twin sisters born in Germany in the late 16th century. In that time twins were considered a bad omen and thought to draw evil to them. The twins had the gift of being able to see events in the future.
John Barnes Chance’s “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” was next and was followed by “The Inferno” (from the Divine Comedy) composed by Robert W. Smith. The original Italian poem by Dante Alighieri is considered one of literature’s greatest works. Alighieri started it in 1308 and completed in 1320, the year before his death.

The evening’s concert concluded with the film score music,“Pirates of the Caribbean Symphonic Suite” by Klaus Badlet and was arranged by John Wasson.

Matthews subsequently reflected on her choir students.

“I am so proud of the progress the choir has made throughout the school year and I think it was very evident at our Spring concert,” she said. “They sang with such energy, spirit and depth and ended the year on a wonderful note.”

Shaut called the concert a “major” success.

“All of the ensembles, Choir, Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble, played very well and we were able to honor our graduating seniors with a nice send off,” he said. “It felt like we finally pushed out of the COVID-19 restrictions and we are now able to put our focus back to making the best music we can as an ensemble. We are already looking forward to next year.”

Superintendent Joel Freer described the Spring concert as “incredible.”
“Our student musicians did a phenomenal job. That is true of all of our performing groups; they did such a great job, especially after coming back from the different types of learning they had to do the past couple of years. They bounced back and did masterful jobs.”

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