BUHS Music Dept. performs first concert since pandemic began

BRATTLEBORO — On Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Brattleboro Union High School Auditorium, something will happen for the first time in 20 months: The music department ensembles will perform for a live audience.

To keep the students and audience members safe, admission will be strictly limited to those holding tickets. Each performer will receive two tickets they may distribute to family or friends. No public tickets will be made available, an announcement that a news release for the event notes with regret.

The concert will feature all four of the department's ensembles. It will begin with the concert band, celebrating the return of live concerts with Randall Standridge's “Celebration.”

The band will continue with a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, performing the opening movement of the German Requiem of Johannes Brahms, whose title translates to “Blessed Are They.”

The band's program culminates with Alegre by Pulitzer Prize–winning Cuban-American composer Tania León.

The BUHS Madrigals next take the stage. Its members will kick things off with a “lighthearted, humorous” English madrigal adaptation of the Spice Girls' hit “Wannabe.”

After performing the popular sea shanty “Wellerman,” which includes solos, duets, and trios, the group will end with “When October Goes,” by Johnny Mercer and Barry Manilow, featuring “lush, intricate jazz harmonies.”

Madrigals will be followed by the jazz band. Their set opens with an original blues tune by Mike Tomaro, “Lose the Shoes.” This performance will be followed by Mike Kamuf's arrangement of the Freddie Hubbard rock-style standard “Red Clay.”

The jazz band closes with Erik Morales' arrangement of “Dat Dere,” which retains much of the recognizable material from the iconic 1960 recording of the piece by its composer, Bobby Timmons, with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

The chorus will close the concert, beginning with what concert organizers describe as the “contagiously uplifting” piece “Lovely Day,” by Bill Withers, featuring four student solos.

The chorus will continue with the somber “In This Ancient House (Momoshiki Ya),” by Ruth Morris Gray, in Japanese and English.

Chorus members will then sing “Thixo Onothando,” a popular isiXhosa hymn performed throughout South Africa and arranged by South African professor Michael Barrett. They will finish the program with the newly published choral piece “I Am Possibility, by David von Kampen and Becky Boesen.

As described in the news release, the song “is an affirmation of hope and faith in our young people as we move through this unique time in our history.”

Vocal ensembles are directed by Julie Ackerman-Hovis, who is new to the BUHS music department this year. Instrumental groups are directed by Stephen Rice. The chorus will be accompanied by Cathy Martin.

For information, call 802-451-3511.

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