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Photo Essay: ‘We all need joy in our lives’: Annual Winter Concert embodies ‘The Joy of Music’ title

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  • Kareena Desai (’30) sings a solo in “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell as eighth grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging and middle and upper school choral director Hannah O’Connor smiles at her. Desai began taking Indian classical singing lessons — Hindustani classical — about one year ago, and she joined middle school choir this year. “When I auditioned for the solo, I thought priority was given to eighth graders, so I wasn’t really confident that I was going to get it,” Desai said. “So I’m really grateful for the solo. I always get a little nervous … but it’s actually really fun.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Gliding her bow across the strings, sophomore Chloe Kirk plays the cello alongside the Bach Street Girls during “Allegro” from Quinten Quartet by F.J. Haydn. Kirk began playing cello when she was in elementary school and joined orchestra in seventh grade. She said performing “Tico Tico” by Zequinha de Abreu was a highlight of the Winter Concert for her. “I really enjoyed playing ‘Tico Tico’ because it is really fun, and it’s something different than all the other [songs] we were playing,” Kirk said.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Sophomore Emerson Cohen and junior Gemma Wyles share a smile as they play guitar and bass. With the choral and band arrangement by Cohen and orchestral arrangement by O’Connor, “Until We Get There” by Lucius was the concert finale. Cohen said she was excited to use her background in music theory in an environment where she can perform with other students; she described her creative process as detailed and multi-faceted. “It bridges personal songwriting and composition to performing,” Cohen said. “You take a pre-existing song and deconstruct it for voice or different instruments. It’s a way to expand a song into a piece of music that a lot more people can play with different musical experiences.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Reading her sheet music, junior Natalie Huang moves her bow in a downward motion alongside the Bach Street Girls during “Allegro.” Huang started playing the violin 10 years ago and joined Archer’s orchestra program in sixth grade. She said she appreciates finally being able to perform pieces the upper school orchestra and Bach Street Girls have been practicing for a long time. “It’s a lot of fun to have a culminating concert to show the work that we’ve been doing over the semester,” Huang said.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Filling the Zeller Student Center with music, upper school choir and Unaccompanied Minors member Jullie Cach (’24) sings “Light On” by Maggie Rogers, a piece arranged by Cohen. When asked about her favorite part of the Winter Concert, Cach said she enjoyed spending time with students in lower grades. “I’m the only senior in choir and acappella,” Cach said. “I feel like they give me confidence in order to lead with them because I know [O’Connor] always wants us to set an example — knowing I’m not alone feels nice.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Clara Lieberstein (’28) plays “Allegro” from Serenage No.1 in D by W.A. Mozart on the flute with the Metro-Gnomes. Smith created the Metro-Gnomes this year; they are a new advanced middle school orchestra that consists of five students.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Following each melodious note in “Winter Stars” by Kathryn Griesinger, Vivianne Arnold (’26) plays the piano alongside the middle school orchestra. Arnold started playing the piano at a young age and joined the middle school orchestra in eighth grade. She said she enjoyed her Winter Concert experience, especially playing “Winter Stars.” “I think it’s a really beautiful piece,” Arnold said. “It sounds amazing, and I love playing it … It’s amazing to be part of creating that music.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Arts teacher Susan Smith conducts the middle school orchestra as they play their instruments in synchrony. Desai said she likes this year’s concert theme because “we all need joy in our lives.” Similarly, Kirk said the theme is fitting. “I think it really fits the atmosphere of the orchestra I’m in because everyone this year has been so optimistic,” Kirk said. “And as far as I know, everyone has loved our pieces. Joy really reflects how we feel about the concert overall this year.” 

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
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After hours of rehearsing until the sun went down, students across all grade levels showcased their musical talents at the annual Winter Concert. The theme of this year’s concert was “The Joy of Music,” and shows took place Jan. 19 and 20. The Middle C’s, middle and upper school choirs and orchestras, Metro-Gnomes, Unaccompanied Minors and Bach Street Girls all performed.

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About the Contributor
Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter
Emily Paschall joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. She is now a senior reporter. She participates in dance at Archer. She is also a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board and Dance Leadership Team. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to K-pop or Taylor Swift, and playing with her dog.

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