Conant Band performs at annual winter concert

Conant’s Winter Band Concert featured three bands–Conant’s Concert Band, Wind Symphony, and Wind Ensemble–with each performing four selections of music. A total of 132 students performed, and this concert was the first this year where the band performed without choir or orchestra.

Taira Shinohara | Conant Crier

Wind Ensemble, the highest level band at Conant, performs “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson while conducted by band director Kreg Moorhouse.

The band performed in the auditorium, unlike their previous fall concert, which they performed in the gymnasium along with Conant’s choir and orchestra, making playing to a large audience in a formal setting a first experience for freshmen.

“[The concert] being our freshmen’s first concert, we did very well,” Bridget Gibson, ‘26, said.

Leann Roder-Manson, co-director of the band, described the concert as “a bit intimidating [to students],” but appreciates the benefit of the experience for students’ futures.

“The formality of the auditorium is a nice change, but often interesting to navigate,” Roder-Manson said. “We’re always pleased with that experience and look forward to seeing how much the bands change over the course of the school year.”

Roder-Manson also applauds the students for the work they achieved in the concert.

“I’m always so proud of our students and the amount of work they do for these concerts,” Roder-Manson said. “It’s not in every class that students work for weeks on a product and then sit on stage and show everyone the work on which they’ve collaborated.”

Kreg Moorhouse, co-director of the band, truly enjoys being on the podium as the students perform.

“Personally, I have the best seat in the house,” Moorhouse said. “Because I see [the entire band], I never get tired of saying that every musician matters on that stage.”

“Everyone in the auditorium [including the audience] is participating in that experience [of music making]. There is nothing like it, and I am so honored to be a part of it,” Moorhouse said.

To Kiya Henderson-Willis, ‘24, the moment when the band finished their last song of the concert was a special moment for her. “I felt really good. I felt proud of the band, proud of what we did for the concert,” she said.

The Winter Concert also featured some holiday music for the audience.

“While we don’t really market it as a ‘holiday’ concert, each group got to play something fun and holiday-oriented, which is always a highlight,” Roder-Manson said.

Much effort goes into music selection for the development of each band. “It takes time and research to find the right selections that also challenges our students to the next level,” Moorhouse said. “Depending on the ensemble and direction we are going, we also pick selections of music that are challenging by way of telling an exciting and/or compelling story.”

Some pieces, however, had a deeper meaning than just entertaining the audience. The piece “Into the Silent Night,” for example, honored the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting incident. The composer, Steve Danyew, used the poem “Remember” by Christina Rossetti to share his ideas and emotions through music as an alum of Sandy Hook.

“For our performance, the students in Wind Ensemble read the names of the victims while the introduction to the piece was played. It featured several soloists throughout and portrayed the chaos of the day quite well,” Roder-Manson said. “The class talked about the effect of music and how important it is to show reverence with a piece like that.”

The next concert by the band will be on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The concert will be free and open to the public.

“We would love for any/all CHS students to join us and watch their fellow classmates perform,” Moorhouse said. “It will be a fun concert!”

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