The lower school’s Bucknall Choir and instrumentalists have had a busy month. The entire group held its annual concert on May 10 and the Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble attended the Heritage Festival at Foothill College just a few days later, with the artists garnering kudos both places.
At the annual Bucknall Instrumental and Choir Concert , performances were by the Lower School Choir and all the instrumental students from Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, String Ensemble, Prep String Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and seven first-year group classes, and there were a few nice surprises.
Joe Connolly, dean of students K-5, was master of ceremonies while Tomas Thompson of the P.E. staff was the guest conductor for the Harker school song, which was performed by the complete ensemble at the opening of the program. Tiffany Wong, grade 4, on harp, accompanied the orchestra on “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and Kathleen Ferretti took a break from her day job as the lower school’s math department chair grades 2-3 to play Taiko drums on the grand finale of “I Want Candy.”
Two special pieces were performed that were composed by grade 2 students. “Both students studied with me in learning composition, orchestration and arranging,” said Louis Hoffman, director of instrumental studies K-Grade5. “Paul Kratter wrote for orchestra. His piece is ‘Rondo in A Minor.’ Aditya Andrade wrote a piece for the Jazz Ensemble called ‘Fun with Blues,’” said Hoffman. Kratter s conducted the orchestra for his piece and Andrade the Jazz Ensemble for his.
The boys’ compositions grew from a new program Hoffman started called Young Composers Series. “Any student can submit a composition for performance to be played by any of our ensembles (orchestra, jazz ensemble, string ensemble, choir, etc.,” said Hoffman. “The student is taken through all the steps from composing, orchestration and arranging to preparing a score and parts to performance and conducting.”
At the Heritage Festival, the Orchestra took a gold award and the Jazz Ensemble placed a close second with a silver award. “Only two schools received the gold,” said Hoffman. “Not too shabby. Both groups wowed the adjudicators, who gave high praise to the students for their outstanding performance level and composure.”
Both the young composers whose pieces were performed at the school concert were specially honored: Kratter and Andrade each got a standing ovation and were awarded Maestro trophies at the festival. “This is a high honor and the first time ever in the over 30-year history of the festival that two young composers were honored,” said Hoffman. “Please join me in congratulating our young budding musicians in their wonderful and well-deserved accomplishment.”