Freedom Band Holiday Concert makes reappearance after 2 years

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Alexa Davis/FHS Press

Freshman Joseph Castelli played the clarinet for the high school concert band during their holiday performance on Dec. 15.

Alexa Davis, Features Editor

This year, band director Ms. Emily Rickard and the band members decided to bring back the yearly holiday concert. The concert was not held the past two years due to changes within the band director position and COVID-19 mandates. The concert took place on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, and it featured both high school and middle school students. 

The middle school’s sixth graders performed, as well as the seventh and eighth grade band. The sixth grade band consisted of three students: one flute, one trombone and one percussion player. The seventh and eighth grade band was made up of 18 students. The high school jazz band also made an appearance. It contains reeds, brass and the rhythm section. The largest of the bands, the high school’s concert band, is made up of flutes, alto saxophones, a trombone, percussion, clarinets, a tenor saxophone, a baritone, tubas, a bass clarinet and trumpets. 29 students are featured in the high school’s concert band. 

Rickard said the students put in a lot of effort and brought their instruments home to practice in order to have a successful holiday concert. 

“I am very proud of these students and how hard they have worked throughout these first few months of the school year,” Rickard said. 

At the beginning of the evening, the sixth grade students played four holiday songs: “Up on the Housetop,” “Patapan,” “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Sevivon Sov Sov Sov.” During “In the Bleak Midwinter,” flutist Cameron Stumpf and trombone player Cooper Brien performed a duet, with Gregory Kline accompanying them on the triangle. “Sevivon Sov Sov Sov” is a Hanukkah song that references a dreidel spinning. 

Following the sixth graders’ performance, the seventh and eighth grade band played “Sounds of the Season,” “Three Miniature Nutcrackers” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

After the middle school band left the stage, the high school jazz band took over the spotlight. They performed “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Now, Rock Ye Rested Gentlemen.” In between those two holiday tunes, the band also played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which featured solos from juniors Leannah Messenger and Brigette Richard, and senior Eric Hunter. 

When the high school concert band took their spot on stage, they played “A Christmas Festival,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Sleigh Ride.” 

“My favorite [song] was ‘Sleigh Ride’ because it’s a classic song and fun to play,” senior band member Braeden Geibel said. 

Rickard stated how the other two songs the band played, “Still, Still, Still” and “Carol of the Bells,” have two very contrasting music styles. “Still, Still, Still” is very calm and peaceful, whereas “Carol of the Bells” is upbeat and energetic.

At the end of the night, the middle schoolers and high schoolers got together to close off the concert with “Home for the Holidays.” 

“I think overall the concert went well. A lot of people have at least said that, so that’s got to mean something,” Geibel said. 

After two years of not having a holiday concert, the band students and many audience members were glad to be hearing live holiday music once again.