Live Performance Returns to the BSA Music Department

Archive, School Year 2021-22, The Arts

By: Rose Coomes

In late December, the Baltimore School for the Arts Orchestra and Opera Scenes Concert was canceled due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19/Omicron cases. The concert was already scheduled late compared to recent years due to COVID-19, just to be postponed again by the pandemic. It has now been rescheduled for March 17th at 5 p.m. and will be the first major in-person performance for a live audience by the string orchestra and chorus in almost two years.

“It was very anticlimactic, we were all prepared… it was the day of the concert, now we have to try to get back into the music with the same energy. But it was also very necessary…” says a senior instrumentalist.

The orchestra will be performing Edvard Greig’s Holberg Suite; Greig originally wrote this suite for piano in 1884 for the celebration of author/playwright Ludvig Holberg’s 200th birthday. In addition, the orchestra will perform George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, which has come to be one of Walker’s most beloved works. The third selection will be the first and fourth movements from Joseph Suk’s Serenade, written in 1892 when Suk was a student at the Prague Conservatory, studying under another legendary composer Antonin Dvorak. 

The chorus will be performing opera scenes from W.A.Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, and Le Nozze di Figaro, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and The Night Visitors, and Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. An opera is a major work of music that is most commonly divided into scenes or acts, like a play. Since operas tend to be over two to three hours long, the chorus will be performing a special selection of scenes.

So far, it looks promising that the string orchestra and chorus will be bringing an exciting performance safely to you on March 17th at 5 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Other music department news includes the upcoming Concerto Competition, incoming college acceptances for seniors, the first-semester chamber music recital, and the now in-rehearsal Expressions finale with both the chorus, soloists, and orchestra. 

BSA’s Concerto Competition is an opportunity for senior instrumentalists to play solo alongside the orchestra. Auditions took place on February 11th with three contestants. The winner was announced on February 15th. Make sure to congratulate senior violinist Avagail Hulbert. Her performance of Jean Sibelius’s violin concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 47 will be featured on May 5th at 5 p.m. as part of the final orchestra and chorus concert of the year.

Expressions rehearsals are well underway throughout BSA. In keeping tradition, the Music Department will be presenting four pieces for the finale this year, which will pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim, through his songs Sunday, Not A Day Goes By, Putting It Together, and Take Me To The World, all arranged by BSA’s choral director Dr. Mark Hardy. Stephen Sondheim was an American lyricist, composer, and musical theater legend who sadly passed away on November 26, 2021. Among some of Sondheim’s most notable works are West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum, and Into The Woods. There will be exciting featured solos from both vocalists and instrumentalists. After just a few rehearsals, many BSA musicians find they can’t stop humming the captivating tunes in the hallway. There will also be a collaboration between TWIGS guitarists and the string orchestra for an arrangement of Telemann’s Concerto No. 2 in D Major. In addition, the string orchestra will be performing the first movement from Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite. We look forward to performing at another great Expressions show this year. Make sure to get your tickets!

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