Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

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2023 Holiday Concert: a winter trinity

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The+Holiday+Concert+is+meant+to+bring+together+the+school+and+community%2C+as+well+as+the+three+different+music+programs.+In+this+final+performance%2C+a+double+synthesis+was+perfected.
Miles Yost
The Holiday Concert is meant to bring together the school and community, as well as the three different music programs. In this final performance, a double synthesis was perfected.

December 12th, 7:30 pm, the PAC is packed for the 2023 Holiday Concert. Rife in the air was the belief that something great was about to be witnessed, for today the band, choir, and orchestra were to perform individually and in unison.

One of the first pieces in the Winter Concert’s lineup was Again and Again. It did not disappoint in the least. Especially for Kyle Andrews, the lead saxophonist who said that he “Liked Again and Again, as [he] got to play the whole thing as a solo.” Andrews’ performance in Again and Again, was the most memorable aspect of the piece, eliciting a bombastic applause from the eager audience.

Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder was the audience favorite. One could hear the rhythm interlap as different instruments volleyed back and forth between them, creating a melody of summer and love. The instruments seemed to join together like congregants at church singing sweetly: “isn’t she lovely.”

The Chamber Choir had the notable performance of Rocking Down the Christmas Tree. It had the effect of drawing the audience back to decades past, and to the idyllic comfort of home and family which is at the core of Christmas. Beyond this, the audience found their Santa hats quite amiable and their short jig as they sang “O’ Mistletoe,” endearing. 

Then came The Engulfed Cathedral performed by the band. OHS Band Director Erik Curley’s words that the piece was “Poetry in sound,” echoed in their truth after silence returned. The Engulfed Cathedral is about a great cathedral that arises from the depths and to the new day. This was exactly the picture woven for the audience.

Saguaro, the name of the next piece, shares its name with a desert cactus. This seemingly random effect began to make sense as the first notes were played. The saguaro’s passage marks the distance that heroes have traversed. This piece is about that feeling. Suitable for rag-tag bands of cowboys riding across the western horizon and even transitioning to a rhythm fit for a fast-paced shootout. All of this is carried by its catchy tune that brings the audience along for the ride.

The orchestra’s performance was like the ocean. Surging, vigorous waters spraying up upon the rocks and then falling from its ethereal realm to nourish the soul. Truly, the experience was rejuvenating. The scene then transitioned to a calm wind rolling over the tall prairie grass. Back to the ocean, the music became a hailing wind upon a young woman. It tumbles her hair, as the ship sails on, the waves crashing upon its wooden bow, spraying salt drops into the air. It was the music of gentle freedom and expansive adventure. 

The final performance was O Fortuna, a Latin 13th-century poem, first set to music by Carl Orff was performed in triplicate by the band, orchestra, and choir. This unyielding number of musicians and instruments was necessary to carry to full justice the magnitude of the piece. 

The music became like a river; flowing with such meaning that one could believe a new world was to be created. The otherworldly nature of the choir lay atop the raging piercing water of the orchestra and band, with the thunderous drums crashing through it all like the steps of giants. The war finds resolution as the wheel of fate ebbs to a halt and the heavens themselves blaze forth in multitudes as the music swells to its crescendo. Silence returns; Fate has decided — and all that is left is the feeling of the sublime.

O Fortuna was the evening’s magnum opus, a feeling made manifest when choir member Sam Christy said that “[She] eat[s], sleep[s] and dream[s] O Fortuna. It is [her] life and essence.” A similar feeling was echoed by fellow choir member Zoe Smitherman, who said that “O Fortuna is [her] life plan.” This depth of sentiment was quite common, and frankly, none in attendance could deny its veracity.

Soren Olsen shared the popular belief that “Individually, [they] brought [their] strong contributions, but together it was something special.” Liam Clark however, firmly held that it was “Obviously the choir, they were the best, above and beyond everyone else.” 

Regardless of who was the best, the music of that night pulled away the scarves covering the neck of beauty: the distance, the isolation of modernity to reveal that beauty is a thing which lasts forever.

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