Harker’s instrumental program has grown so steadily in the past few years, it has outgrown its annual winter showcase. This year, directors Chris Florio, Louis Hoffman and Toni Woodruff split their program into two separate concerts held Jan. 15, and judging by the packed houses and enthusiastic responses, the idea was a hit.
The 5 p.m. concert featured Woodruff’s Lower School String Ensemble, 19 students who performed two pieces. The new Lower School Jazz Ensemble introduced itself to the community with 17 students led by Hoffman. Hoffman’s Lower School Orchestra tackled Offenbach, Dvorak and Sibelius in an impressive program, and Florio’s Gr. 6 and Gr. 7-8 orchestras wrapped up the program with pieces by Brahms, Faure and Tchaikovsky.
At 7:30 the big kids took the stage, starting with Florio’s Jazz Band, who grooved through four standards with style. Francesca Nagle, Gr. 11, was outstanding as the band’s front singer, and sax player Aadithya Prakash, Gr. 12 and trombonist Benjamin Tien, Gr. 11, had impressive solo moments.
Florio also leads the Harker Orchestra, which has truly blossomed under his leadership. Now boasting 69 players, the musicians presented Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 1” in its entirety, as well as a Smetana overture and the humorous “Hungarian Dance” of Brahms.
Congratulations to all musicians and directors for a truly outstanding showcase of Harker talent!