This article was originally published in the spring 2013 Harker Quarterly.
Dozens of musicians from Harker’s middle and upper schools gathered at the beautiful Mexican Heritage Theater in San Jose on Jan. 11 for this year’s Winter Concert. Musical groups from both campuses performed pieces both modern and classic in a wide variety of styles.
The concert was separated into two portions, allowing students from both campuses equal
time to shine. Middle school musicians, directed by Dave Hart, opened at 5 p.m. with Harker Winds performing “Bags Groove” by Milt Jackson and “Some Nights” by the pop group fun., both arranged by the performers in the group.
Harker Strings continued with an arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and the holiday favorite “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The Grade 6 Orchestra (made up of members from the winds and strings groups) then continued the performance with “Farandole” by Georges Bizet and the ever-popular theme from “Star Wars.”
Students Donna Boucher, Connie Xu, Arushee Bhoja and Catherine Wang, all grade 6, impressively performed the first of two chamber pieces showcased that evening, “Comptine d’un Autre Été: L’Après-Midi” by Yann Tiersen. The grade 8 duo of violinists Cuebeom Choi and May Gao then played a selection from “Duo Concertante for Two Violins” by Charles-Auguste de Bériot.
Jazz musicians from grades 7 and 8 took the stage for a set of songs from greats such as Charles Mingus (“Boogie Bop Shuffle”) and Charlie Parker (“My Little Suede Shoes”). Finishing the middle school portion of the show was the Grade 7-8 Orchestra, who performed “Amazing Grace” and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves” before bringing the set to a spectacular close with the first movement of Antonín Dvorák’s “New World Symphony.”
The second half of the show featured upper school musicians, starting with the Lab Band, the introductory jazz ensemble directed by Dave Hart, who performed Benny Golson’s “Blues March,” Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me” (arranged by the band themselves) and “Big Dipper” by Thad Jones. The Harker School Jazz Band, directed by Chris Florio, continued with “Launching Pad” by Clark Terry and Duke Ellington and the popular 1930s British standard “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” before bringing the house down with the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Jumpin’ East of Java.”
Finally, Florio led the headlining upper school orchestra in an array of selections from famed composers such as Dvorák, Tchaikovsky and Holst, bringing the concert to an exciting close with a performance of Percy Grainger’s famous reel “Molly on the Shore.”