After winning a silver medal at the annual MICCA contest in April, the Malden High School Concert Band put on its second to last show of the year on May 11th in the Jenkins Auditorium.

The night opened up with performances by the band’s three small ensembles, which were composed of smaller groups of musicians. Sonor, who was made up of Finn Sedan, Joao Bereta and Lima Nesmith, were the first group to perform. Next up was the Popular Lunch Table ensemble which featured Donald Ford, Lulu Harding, Kai Santos, Nour Belkessa, David Martins, Victor Desouza and Sarah Machado. It was easy to tell the crowd had a fun time when Popular Lunch Table started playing the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. The last of the small ensembles to perform was 6 Inc., which included Leo Chen, Nick Nguyen, Soup Nguyen, Jene Jean, Victoria Loreus and Nicholas Alves-Silva.

A small inclusion into the program was two performances by the MHS Jazz Band who brought a unique and interesting sound to the night. The pieces they performed were “Perdido” by Juan Tizol and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” by Stevie Wonder.

The third part of the concert was played by the Concert Band itself, who performed “Winchester Chronicles” by James Swearingen, “Symphonic Chorales” movements three and four by John Moss, “Russian Sailor’s Dance” by Reinhold Gliere, and “Livin on a Prayer” by Jon Bon Jovi.

The fourth and final group was the Wind Ensemble, who opened with a less traditional piece called “Michael Jackson: Through The Years” by Michael Jackson. What made this song different from the rest was that it included parts of popular songs by Jackson, so it was more of a collection of different sounds than a standalone song. The next two songs, “Country Gardens” and “Ave Maria” by Percy Grainger and Franz Schubert respectively, were also performed at MICCA. The last song of the night was “The Queen of Soul” by Aretha Franklin.

Erin Mazza, the teacher and conductor of the concert band, thought that the performers “did really well,” and was proud of all of every group. Mazza mentioned how special this group of students is to her, saying “this group of seniors has been with me since 7th grade. They were part of my middle school-high schools transition program. I have seen them mature and grow since 7th grade! We have formed a really tight bond together. We helped each other through the pandemic and always had our class to look forward to.”

One word Mazza used to describe these seniors is “perseverance.” She elaborated on this, noting, “they went through a lot, stuck with the band through remote learning, recorded a full virtually winter concert, then came back and won silver in the state competition. Perseverance easily describes them!”

Looking ahead to next year’s concert band which will be led by this year’s juniors, Mazza is confident that they will be able to perform to the best of their ability. “I have some amazing juniors! [A] very talented and gifted group of kids for sure. I definitely think we’re going to have some work to do, but if they work hard, we’re going to be amazing.”

Donald Ford is one of the seniors in band who was also seen in  performances at Junior Varieties with his piano playing skills. “I think I did well. Honestly, I stopped trying to play well and just wanted to have fun and that probably made everything feel way better and easier because I was so nervous!” 

While reflecting on his favorite parts of band, Ford spoke about the people he met and what he’s been able to learn from them has helped him get into his dream college, Berklee College of Music.

When further asked about getting into Berklee and how being in band helped guide him to get to that point, Ford said “band has helped me understand so much not only on music in general but piano too. It really got me prepared for my audition because if it wasn’t for me working with Mazza and improvising/practicing on the piano 24/7, I probably wouldn’t be in the position I’m in, which I’m so grateful for.”

The thing Ford will miss the most about band is “the performances and the moments I’ve made with the friends I’ve made that I can now call best friends.”

Despite the difficulties in scheduling due to Covid, junior Ryan Li felt he “was able to do well.” Li, who has played Clarinet for almost two years now, joined the band with the added benefit of how colleges could favor him more because of this extracurricular activity. Over time, Li has come to love the program and doesn’t regret joining. “I love the program that we have at MHS, especially our very supportive teacher, Ms. Mazza, who makes the class both fun and enjoyable for all students that take her class. I recommend that other people who have taken an instrument to try it out.

The thought of being a senior next year and having a larger role in the band is both “scary and exciting,” for Li. He dove deeper into this saying, “As a senior, it is scary because it felt like our time in high school passed by really quickly, and only after what feels like 5-10 years have passed by that we are almost adults.” Li continued, “however, it is exciting because I believe that all students have potential and that the generation before us will be able to enjoy what we were able to.”

Li hopes to be able to guide his peers and those less experienced than him next year because he believes that “for children to grasp at ideas, it must be the responsibility of adults to be able to protect them for those hopes and dreams to foster. This is what should be done, and what I hope will happen for us and what we will do for our underclassmen.”

As the curtain closes for this group of seniors in the concert band, a new window of opportunity has flung open for those who are taking their place.

Related Posts