As students hungrily await the holiday break, an important Malden High School tradition is the winter holiday concert. On Dec. 18, 2013, the Jenkins auditorium was filled with people eager to enjoy the show, which was performed by the MHS choral arts society and concert band at the direction of Todd Cole and John Natelli, respectively.
The concert began with a performance of “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”, originally written and performed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The show continued with many other winter classics, such as “Last Christmas” by George Michael and the traditional German Christmas tree anthem, “O Tannenbaum,” accompanied by MHS junior Sebastian Patino’s narration. The band’s performance was applauded and admired by everyone watching. Senior student conductor Winnie Chen stated that “it is [incredible] to watch each other grow, to be role models for one another, and most importantly, [what sets us apart is] we are a group of kids that push each other to achieve our own potentials.”
This is Natelli’s first winter holiday concert at MHS, as he has been a replacement for previous band director Matthew Tavares for only a short amount of time. Chen stated that due to the sudden change, the band is still in “a transition phase.” She added that, “as time goes on, we will recreate this bond with this new director and cherish what we had with the last!” Fittingly, at the end of the concert, the senior members of the band gave Natelli flowers to congratulate him on his first successful direction of one of MHS’s most long-standing holiday traditions.
Next, MHS’s concert choir performed the traditional Christmas carol, “Silent Night.” A longer performance of six more winter and Christmas songs by MHS’s mixed chorus followed. This included performances of “Miracle of Lights” and “Winter Wonderland.”
Next, the madrigals, containing mostly MHS seniors, performed several more carols along with another John Lennon standby, “Imagine,” which is an MHS tradition has performed it several times before. The concert choir finished the show with more winter and holiday songs. One of these was a French song titled Il Est Né (which translates to He is Born in English). Sophomore Sarah Bendell informs that the choir worked especially hard on this, and that it was “nerve wracking to make sure we were doing it the best we could, remembering all our singing techniques [as well as] making it a performance that people would enjoy.”
Other songs by the concert choir included “The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights),” with solo performances by Patricia Seun and Jules Skiffington, and “Do You Hear What I Hear,” as well as “O, Holy Night,” which featured soloists Stephanie Joseph and Ramy Neves Riviere. This song ended the night with a strong performance.
Senior Patricia Seun, choir manager, stated that as a whole, “chorus is filled with so many different characters...that gathering everyone's attention to focus sometimes is tough. But at the end of the day...we [are] able to pull it together the night our efforts matter the most.” Seun also added that at the end of the performances, “the flowers made my last winter concert so very special because it was so unexpected. I'm surrounded by so many of these wonderful people on a daily basis and those flowers just reminded me that I'm incredibly grateful for a number of those choir members.”
The seniors from both the concert band and concert choir were honored during their last MHS winter concert ever. They will surely be remembered throughout the hallways of the school as well as during the concerts of years to come.