Middle and upper school music groups gave their first concert of the new year on Jan. 16 at the 2015 Winter Concert at San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Theater. The grade 6 jazz band got things off to a rollicking start with its version of the traditional spiritual “Down by the Riverside,” followed by Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island.”
Middle school music teacher Dave Hart then directed the grade 6 orchestra in its performance of Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity” and Johann Strauss’ “Radetzky March.”
Next up was a series of performances by the middle school chamber groups. The first group – comprising violinists Nilisha Baid, Shalini Rohra and Aditi Vinod; violists Annamma Vazhaeparambil and Mariamma Vazhaeparambil; bassist Anika Fuloria; and trumpeter Arohee Bhoja, all grade 6 – performed their own arrangement of Green Day’s “21 Guns.” The next performers, grade 8 violin duo Constance Horng and Noah Lincke, performed Bach’s “Intervention No. 2.” A special ensemble of Harker private instructors – violinist Pierre Dazin, cellist Natachia Li and bassist Josh Thurston-Milgrom – treated the audience to Thurston-Milgrom’s arrangement of the popular song “Let It Go,” from the film “Frozen.”
The concert then made another excursion to jazz territory with the Middle School Jazz Band’s performances of “Sugar Plum” by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Orange Sherbert” by Sammy Nestico and “Chameleon/Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock.
The Grades 7-8 Orchestra was the final middle school group to appear, performing selections from the Harry Potter films and variations on themes by Joseph Haydn and Niccolo Paganini.
Chris Florio directed the first upper school group of the evening, the Lab Band, as it played a selection of jazz pieces, including Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and “Bernie’s Tune” by Bernie Miller, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
More jazz followed, with The Harker School Jazz Band playing selections such as the Chick Corea classic “Spain,” the Stevie Wonder hit “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and Bill Liston’s “Sitka Shuffle.”
After the intermission, the members of The Harker School Orchestra took their places on stage and began with the second movement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphony No. 1.” In one of the evening’s highlights, the orchestra performed entirety of Dvořák’s famous “Symphony No. 9” (popularly known as the “New World Symphony”), before ending with “Overture to La Forza del Destino” by Giuseppe Verdi.