A Wonderful Winter Concert: Brooklyn Tech 2021 Winter Concert Review

Justin Ma, Staff Writer

Last December, Tech hosted its 2021 Winter Holiday Concert Series, marking the return of major in-person events hosted at Tech this school year.

Over the past few months, staff and students in the music department have worked hard to make the concert a hit. Tech Chorale member Alexander Sauce (‘22) detailed his experience preparing for the concert: “We’ve been practicing for the concert since October. It was definitely stressful since we were preparing for the first in-person Tech performance since the pandemic started. This is a way to re-introduce everyone to the Tech choir again through successful performance,” he said.

“It was difficult for us to get back into the groove because of the restrictions put in place due to COVID and construction,” Mr. Trombetta, Assistant Principal of Music, added. “Luckily, we have a great team. A lot of the work is handled by different groups meant to do different things.”

A week and a half preceding the concert, constant announcements were made to promote the event. Students who spent their free periods in the auditorium were given a glimpse of the upcoming concert, as the performers used the stage to practice concert songs.

With all this preparation and exposure, the pressure was on for the students performing in Tech’s Winter Concerts.

Choral Concert:

Photographer: Justin Ma

Tech Chorale was the first of the three concerts performed. After an initial ten-minute delay, the concert went smoothly overall. The Beginning Choir started off strong with their performances of “Siyahamba,” a South African folk song, and “Alleluia.” This seamlessly flowed right into their entrance of “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, a good demonstration of the Beginning Choir’s skill. As the show went on, the concert began to spotlight those with prior experience in Tech’s Choir, and its quality consistently increased.

The highlight of the show was the Treble Choir; soloist Lilian Redding shined through as the boldest performance with her tremendous vocal range in “Kyrie from Mass in G (D.167).”

The show continued to generate passionate applause from the audience, specifically with the exceptional piano solo of “Etude Op.10 No.12 Revolutionary” by Michelle Fridman. After, the Concert Choir performed “Deck the Nutcracker Hall/Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Vuelie” from Frozen Choral Suite, and “White Winter Hymnal” with pianist William Douglas. They performed each of these songs with a rich, haunting winter-themed harmony together to emphasize the collaboration needed to create a satisfying choir. The finale “The World For Christmas — Leia’s Song” ended the concert with a soft and relaxing, yet bold performance with the full Tech Chorale singing together. Soloists Katerina Avvakumova and Rifah Tasnia in particular delivered an excellent vocal display during this song.

The Holiday Choral Concert was a major success. The singers were impressive, and the concert set a good impression for the first in-person concert in over a year.

Orchestral Concert:

Photographer: Eason Fan

The Orchestral concert built on Tech Chorale’s successful example a week prior and delivered a finely tuned musical showcase.

“Preparing the concert was fun, but the last week of practicing was pretty intense,” stated Xindi Liu, principal player of the 2nd Violin section.

This work indeed paid off, as the Orchestra Concert was an immense success. Although longer than the Tech Chorale, the musical quality was elevated with each consecutive performance. Though the Intermediate Orchestra had a rough start, needing extra time to synchronize during the performance, the Borodin quartet helped introduce the Orchestra with a solid performance. All of the players — Brandom Kim, Vaishnavi Venkatest, Alexander Reyes, and Noshi Norris — helped demonstrate the skill that the audience had expected for this concert. They played “String Quartet No.2 III Notturno,” capturing the song’s romantic tale of lovers, in a slow beautiful melody.

The two solo performances varied widely in quality, showing a clear distinction in choppiness and flow. Piano soloist Mylien Lai performed “Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27 no. 2 Moonlight” with a perfect recital of her pieces. The solo violin segment, however, was a bit choppy and even gained some unflattering viral video notoriety around the Tech community, but the performance had its charms and the grateful live audience was entirely supportive throughout.

The Junior Orchestra was phenomenal. As more experienced players, their performance radiated professional quality; distinctly listening, the Junior Orchestra gave much louder, bolder, and less subtle mistakes compared to the other bands from before. Howl’s Piano Quintet performed “Merry Go Round of Life,” the main theme from the film Howl’s Moving Castle. The song had a good showing, marred slightly in the latter half when one of the violin players seemed out of tune. Despite the technical errors, the Senior Orchestra was the highlight of the Orchestra Concert, with a home-run performance that captured these seniors’ true determination and skill from the years they have practiced at Tech.

The Orchestral concert was another great musical experience. It felt well prepared and organized, and the audience gave it an excellent reception.

Band Concert:

Photographer: Eason Fan

Despite significant challenges posed by COVID protocols, the Band concert was easily the best of all three of the winter concerts this year.

“I think that band was the most difficult in getting set up out of the three sections, after 18 months of asynchronous music instruction,” Mr. Trombetta noted. “We needed to get special PPE supplies for the band, where students needed to wear special masks to accommodate their instruments, special filters, bell coverings, aerosols to stop the spread of all the bacteria and viruses that could be naturally spread.”

Out of the three sections, the Junior Band had the most flawless performances, avoiding any small mistakes that would have hindered the concert. The Jazz Quintet set the stage, performing with illustrious rhythm and melody.
The Concert band brought a unique grandeur with only a limited amount of instruments. An amazing highlight was “Music From Wicked” played beautifully, which helped bring the concert to intermission on a high note.

The true high point of the concert came after the intermission. The Jazz Band demonstrated the lengthy experience of the senior band players, including solos from Jackson Chidiac, Christian Borek, Daven Cole, Karsten Cole, Flipos Kyrpitois, Jaylen Thai, Arthur Galt, Thomas Larsen, Jasper Fields, and Micah Fisher. This group displayed the most raw skill out of the three, dazzling the audience with some of the most expressive, catchy, and difficult songs in the program.

After the Jazz performance came the piano solo. While the instrument was not set up to the microphone correctly for the first song, “Sarabande” by E. Grieg, soloist Clarice Wang still played excellently.

Following, the Symphonic Band played expertly, rivaling the Jazz Band as highlight of the night as they built to the finale, where the concert and symphonic bands combined their technical skill and amazing harmony to deliver the audience a powerful conclusion.

Tech’s Winter concert was a promising success. The amount of work and effort entailed from both students and staff fueled the altogether sublime performances by the Tech music department.