This story originally appeared in the spring 2014 Harker Quarterly.
In mid-January, San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater played host to the annual middle and upper school Winter Concert, which featured the talents of a wide selection of musicians from Harker’s various music programs.
Middle and upper school music teacher David Hart directed all but two of the evening’s groups, leading performances by the Grade 6 Orchestra, Grade 7-8 Orchestra, Middle School Jazz Band and, now in its second year, The Harker School Lab Band. The grade 6 winds group kicked things off with the up-tempo “I’m Walkin’” by Fats Domino, followed by Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The grade 6 strings group then performed three pieces, including a rendition of the “Spring” section of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” which included solos by Jun Lin, Ahn My Tran and Gabriel Chai. Winds and strings then joined forces to perform Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” and the iconic “Star Wars” theme by John Williams. Soon after, the evening audience was treated to a special appearance by the middle school chamber group, which performed a haunting version of the traditional favorite “Scarborough Fair.”
The show then shifted gears to feature the Middle School Jazz Band, which performed selections by Horace Silver, Billy Strayhorn, Oliver Nelson and Joe Henderson before the Grade 7-8 Orchestra performed pieces by Johannes Brahms and Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, finishing their set with the theme from the film “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
The Harker School Lab Band was the last of the groups directed by Hart. Their set included Thelonius Monk’s “I Mean You” and “Manteca” by the great Dizzy Gillespie. Upper school music teacher Chris Florio took over to direct The Harker School Jazz Band, leading them through four songs, including Dan Gailey’s “The Cheese That Time Forgot” and the swing classic “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” by Count Basie.
Capping off the night was The Harker School Orchestra, also directed by Florio. It began with Franz von Suppé’s “Poet and Peasant Overture” before moving on to a grand performance of excerpts from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Concluding the show was an exciting rendition of Stravinsky’s “Scherzo a la Russe.”