THS’s Musicians Shine in the Annual Winter Concert


Pablo Estua Carrillo, Staff Writer

On Friday of last week, the Tenafly community arrived at THS to witness the long-awaited annual THS Winter Concert. The participating groups of this event—the school’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Treble Choir, Mixed Choir, and Concert Choir—had been consistently preparing for this cherished event since the start of the school year in September. As the student-musicians anxiously but excitedly waited to perform before the concert, families and friends of the performers sat down in the Collins-Tall Auditorium, impatiently waiting to listen to the beautiful music of their loved ones. A feeling of excitement and readiness suspended the setting as the artists mounted the stage, waiting for their beloved teacher, Mr. James Millar, to start the show. During the concert, the audience, specifically the parents, were tremendously proud to watch their children partake in this astounding musical production. 

The Winter Concert started off with an excellent performance by the Philharmonic Orchestra, in which they echoed the amazing work of the renowned American composer John Williams by playing a special trilogy composed by him. This lively composition included well-known portions from various prominent pieces, in which the listeners enjoyed hearing the distinct Star Wars theme song— “A New Hope.” Throughout the rest of the concert, the Philharmonic Orchestra continued to appeal to the audience with two more musical works of art, one of them being the highly-difficult piece, “Serenade for Strings” by Antonín Dvořák. However, regardless of the difficulty, it turned out to be the favorite for some of the artists. “It’s fast-paced and fun,” Co-Concertmaster and First Violinist Gia Shin  (‘23) expressed. Despite the demanding material, the talented group put their musical abilities to work and played the piece beautifully, proving that it was no match for them. “We basically played at the fastest tempo we ever played, but we still managed to stay together until the end,” Shin continued. 

Along with their string-playing counterparts, the THS Choir artists also enjoyed illustrating their vocal talents at the Winter Concert, in which the three principal singing groups—the Treble Honors Choir, the Mixed Honors Choir, and the Concert Choir—were able to perform pieces both separately and also as a group. After the Philharmonic Orchestra commenced the show with their first two pieces, the Mixed Honors Choir entered the spotlight, performing the crowd-energizing songs “Children Will Listen” by Stephen Sondheim, arranged by Mark Brymer, and the traditional version of “Wade in the Water,” arranged by Mark Hayes. Later in the concert, the Treble Honors Choir got their share of the attention by singing three notable songs: “Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby” arranged by Van Alexander, “Nigra Sum” by Casals, and “Go Where I Send Thee” arranged by Oliver. For the singing finale, the three choirs joined together  with Mr. Millar at the piano. They revealed their love for the famous movie and musical “Mamma Mia,” by singing one of its most high-spirited songs, “Dancing Queen” by Abba. During their dynamic performance, the artists’ full expressions of merriment and freedom were a hallmark that surpassed their other performances. “It created a really nice atmosphere and we were all just happy to be there,” Senior and Treble Honors Choir soprano, Dina Shlufman (‘23) articulated. The THS Choir singers relished the celebration of all of the work they had put in towards the show and the tons of fun they had during it. “We were all jamming out; you could [see] that we were having a really great time!” Shlufman reminisced. 

Another performing ensemble that was able to showcase their musical skills was the school’s Symphony Orchestra. With Mr. Millar at the front, this remarkable group played two very diverse pieces of music, with each expressing its own inner theme. Their first piece was the poignant “Cinema Paradiso” by Morricone, arranged by Krogstad. As the string musicians followed the notes, the audience could discern the pervasive sense of melancholy, as well as soft elegance brought by this work of art. In contrast, the orchestra’s succeeding piece was the very loud and animated “Sinfonia in d minor” by Mendelssohn. The composition comprises three separate movements, with the second one conveying a melancholy tone, similar to the one of “Cinema Paradiso,” while the other two follow the previously mentioned theme. 

The annual Winter Concert is an event that the THS musicians very much appreciate as it makes the countless hours of rehearsing and practicing all the more worth it. In addition, it serves as a showcase of musical innovation and expertise, while also providing the attending audience with an electric atmosphere of amusement. “There was really good energy in the performances,” the esteemed Director of Music, Mr. Millar adds. “I thought that the audience really appreciated it and I’ve gotten some good comments about it.” An additional round of applause is sent to the participating musicians and singers, as well as to Mr. Millar for being in charge of delivering a wonderful Winter Concert which the THS community absolutely treasures.