Kaleidoscope: An interplay of musical notes


Photo credit: Audrey Chung

Junior Camila Blank plays the violin with her fellow violinists during the orchestra’s performance on Saturday night. Orchestra was accompanied by Archer’s choir and a cappella groups during the Winter Concert.

By Rose Sarner, Culture Editor

Returning to the dining hall after two years of concerts impacted by COVID-19, Archer’s orchestra, a cappella and choir’s took audience members on a journey through music, light and color in this year’s winter concert, “Kaleidoscope.” Performances included the middle and upper school orchestras and choirs, The Middle C’s, The Bach Street Girls and the Unaccompanied Minors.

Senior Lucy Lassman joined the upper school choir and The Middle C’s during her freshman year and has been a member since. She performed six songs in the concert. 

“The theme of the winter concert was Kaleidoscope, and the entire purpose of the orchestra and the choirs was to be able to sing and express yourself,” Lassman said. “Not only did we want to sound like a kaleidoscope — in the way that it was a blend of different notes and harmonies and vocal parts and things like that — it was also a blend of different styles of music.” 

Junior Camila Blank is a concertmaster in the upper school orchestra and also participates in violin competitions, performances and chamber music outside of Archer. According to Berklee College of Music, this is the second-most significant leader in an orchestra, after the conductor, symphonic band or other musical ensemble. In February last year, Blank played in the California All-State String Orchestra as a first violinist.

This year’s theme highlights all of the different ensembles coming together and the unique picture that we all create together through our love for music.

— Camila Blank ('24)

“I definitely feel a lot more connected to the rest of the orchestra this year because we’re finally back in the dining hall after COVID,” Blank said. “We were in the amphitheater last year, which had its own difficulties and pros and cons. But, I really feel like being back in the dining hall signifies that everything is going back to normal and allows us to be more comfortable which, then results in a stronger performance.”

According to Britannica, a kaleidoscope is an “optical device consisting of mirrors that reflect images of bits of coloured glass in a symmetrical geometric design through a viewer.” Therefore, Smith said that the theme Kaleidoscope signifies how one object that is seen through a kaleidoscope affects the entire image, similar to that of music. Orchestra Director Susan Smith said that this year’s theme influenced the various styles and beats of music that were played.

“We were trying to pick music that explores a range of emotions — really high emotions, sad emotions and everything in between,” Smith said. “There were lots of different colors in a kaleidoscope, and we were trying to show that through music.”

The winter concert had four performances: one faculty show and three regular shows open to students, parents and other community members. The faculty show took place Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., and the regular shows took place Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Blank said that this year’s theme emphasized the importance and role of each individual orchestra member. 

“This year’s theme highlights all of the different ensembles coming together and the unique picture that we all create together through our love for music,” she said. 

This year marks Lassman’s and many other seniors’ last winter concert. Lassman said that even after the concert concluded, she has remained close with all members of choir and orchestra that have been a part of her Archer musical journey.

“In the middle of one practice, I realized that I need to cherish this time that I have now because it’s going be gone in six months,” Lassman said. “I used this to motivate myself to make that concert the best I had ever completed and to serve as a role model for other students around me.”