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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Cummings

Monsoon Instrumental Music Concert

On February 22, 2023 the Mayfair Music department lit up the MPB with their inspiring instrumental concert. Five groups performed, starting from 6:00 pm and lasting until 8:30 pm. Each group played 2 or 3 songs and had the opportunity to be tutored by a clinician-style judge, Mr. Doug Nordquist, afterwards. Mr. Tom Philips teaches and conducts the highschool Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band as well as the middle and high school Beginning and Advanced String classes and Mrs. Gina Holcomb teaches and conducts the middle school junior band. These groups demonstrated skilled musicianship at the concert Wednesday night, impressing the full audience that they gathered for the evening while also preparing to perform at a competitive Music Festival the following week.

The concert began with three songs by the Wind Ensemble. This is the smaller, more advanced high school band that performs music at higher difficulty levels with deeper technical skills. This group demonstrated bold, fast and jarring moments in their first song. The group presented numerous 16th note runs at a high tempo while maintaining a smooth and stylistic display of musicality. Mr. Nordquist worked with the group after their pieces and fine tuned their skills in order to perfect the music. Together, they work-shopped the band’s ability to attack notes as a unit, articulate short notes clearly, and actively breathe deeply in order to create unity and fluidity in their music. These tips quickly improved the little details of their performance and will help the band when they go to the Festival next week.

The next performers were Beginning Strings composed of all new musicians on various orchestral instruments such as violin, viola, cello and base. Though all of these students had newly begun playing their instrument this fall, this group attacked their first piece with strength, balancing each instrumental part well within each other. They showcased different skills in their music like the technique known as “plucking” (the act of picking or pulling an instrument’s string with one’s fingers) in contrast to “bowing” (the style of moving the instrument’s bow across its strings depending on the desired style) in order to produce a more refined sound.

After Beginning Strings was the middle school Junior Band. This is the advanced group for middle school and this fact was clearly demonstrated through their skill level and obvious show of experience. This band had strong chords at the start of each piece and played together through the songs. The students had wonderful articulation and strong tone quality. The parts balanced well with distinct notes of high brass and strong foundations set by the low brass in the band. All of these elements made the performance enjoyable to watch and is extremely impressive considering the young ages of the performers.

The Advanced Strings group was next to the stage, transitioning back to lovely orchestral music for the final time that evening. This experienced group of string musicians presented two beautiful pieces Wednesday evening. The first song was smooth and languid in style featuring a controlled tone from all instruments and creating a pleasant listening experience. The second piece was a violin centered song with a soli feature led by junior Eunice Dao. The song was bright, emotional and stunningly performed. Mr. Nordquist spoke directly to Eunice during his clinician and personally praised her talent and skill in the second song. He worked with the group and their bow techniques, altering the technicality of their movements in order to perfect the sound of their music.

The final group of the night was the high school Symphonic band. This large group exhibited bold, bright music in their first song. This song featured smooth 16th note runs, call and response segments in the music from across the band, section soli and numerous dynamic contrasts through the lengthy song. All technical parts were supported through the many pages of music and the band maintained unity until the very end. The second song by this group featured a two instrument duet performed by alto saxophone first chair Acay Sanchez (sophomore) and trumpet first chair Dylan Mendoza (junior). This duet was very well performed by the two musicians with its distinct lyrical qualities and well connected phrases. Although the two students sat distant from each other, they connected and played together producing a pleasant sound for their audience and judge.

All groups have worked diligently to give lovely performances on this Wednesday afternoon and continue to fine tune their music as they prepare for competition in the Festival on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Clinician Doug Nordquist aided the Monsoons in this goal by sharing his musical wisdom after each performance. Mr. Nordquist, a former music teacher at California High School and tuba player, worked closely and passionately with the Monsoons in the time he was given. He shared stylistic, articulate, and technical fixes all while being kind and urging improvement for the good of the students. Mr. Nordquis applauds the music teachers at MHS for the work they are doing at the school. He noted and liked that, “the students are teachable and could respond and execute”. These skills are required to grow not only as musicians, but also as individuals entering into life.

If you wish to witness the talent of our young Monsoons for yourself, come and watch their performances on March 1, 2023 at the SCSBOA Concert Festival at Mayfair HS in the MPB. The Beginning Strings will perform at 4:00, the Junior Band at 5:00, Wind Ensemble at 7:00 and Symphonic Band at 8:30 with other bands in between from Artesia, Bellflower, Lakewood and Santa Fe. The Festival is open to the public free of charge and will be filled with the extensive talent of our middle and high school students for all to enjoy! If this past concert proved anything, it truly proved that Monsoon music is not something to be missed out on. As Mr. Philips said, “We bring a Monsoon!”

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