UHS Orchestra Holds its Annual Fall Concert in Person


Reagan Gregory, Staff Writer

UHS’s orchestra program held its annual Fall Concert in the theatre on Tuesday, October 19th, featuring all five of the school’s orchestras. 

To fully embody the theme of the season, some sections of the pieces performed were eerie, while others felt more light and warm. The pieces were separated by student speakers discussing what compositions were going to be played, along with summoning the concertmaster, the lead violinist and leader of each respective orchestra. The lighting stayed constant throughout the concert, being centered on the performing orchestra to draw in attention. The atmosphere overall was welcoming due to the ushers and the candle lit reception set up outside. 

Although many UHS art programs have been affected by COVID-19, the orchestra has remained largely unaffected. Because musicians in orchestra do not use their breath to play, unlike their counterparts in the UHS band, the orchestra program did not need to take as many COVID precautions. Masks were required, however, during the concert and the outdoor reception 

“I almost forgot that we are in a pandemic,” orchestra director Mrs. Grace Lee said. 

The Concert Orchestra performed the piece “Serenade No.9 ‘Posthorn’ Finale” by Mozart. Posthorn Finale consists of sharp and loud repeated phrases that keeps the song lively throughout, the boldest of songs in the orchestra’s repertoire. 

The Concert Orchestra then proceeded to perform “Boreas The Cold, North Wind,” which aligned nicely with the fall theme. Rather than starting off strong like Posthorn Finale, this piece began soft, with the title certainly reflecting the emotions of the piece. The notes had an edge that gave off a cold feeling, while the legato style, which kept the notes connected, allowed the piece to sound like wind. 

Following the Concert Orchestra was the Philharmonic Orchestra that played “Incantations,” Mrs. Lee’s favorite piece of the night. 

“We had fun preparing it,” Lee said.  “When the students are excited it helps motivate them to do more individual practice which makes the piece come together quickly.” 

“Incantations” differed from the others due to its creepy and sinister sound for Halloween. Juxtaposed to the subtle piece which preceded it, “Incantations” offered a nice spark of excitement, holding the audience to the edge of their seat.

“Concerto Grosso,” by Ernest Bloch was then performed by the Symphony Orchestra. The song’s title refers to a form of baroque music in which the melody jumps between a few of the orchestral sections to the whole ensemble. The Symphony Orchestra also performed the piece “Night on Bald Mountain,” by Modest Mussorgsky which follows the frightening story of a witches’ sabbath.

The final piece of the night, “Dvorak Serenade in E op. 22,” by Antonin Dvorak, was performed by the Symphony Orchestra. The piece’s five sections ranged in emotion and feeling, each with different and nuanced melodies and rhythms. 

The Dvorak Serenade was the hardest piece to prepare due to the “tricky syncopation that caused the beat to be one off” Lee stated. The last section of the serenade circled back to the main theme of the piece, which satisfyingly brought the concert to a close.

The concert was followed by a light reception hosted outside by the Orchestra Boosters board, a group of parents who help organize orchestra events and more. The reception allowed everyone to come together, eat, and discuss the first in-person concert since 2020. 

The next orchestra event will be the Winter Concert, which will be held on December 2nd in the UHS Theater