Music Department Winter Concert Preview

The holidays in January? Thanks to a snow day back in December, the holiday season at Oyster River has been extended into the new year. The Oyster River High School (ORHS) Music Department is eager to host it’s annual concert this Tuesday, January 14th, at 7:00pm.

The holiday concert allows students to showcase what they have been working on over the duration of the first semester, and will feature songs performed by the string orchestra, band, and chorus with a few holiday-themed pieces that were originally meant to be heard on December 17th. The concert should run for about 90 minutes, taking place in the ORHS auditorium. 

The band and orchestra will be playing most songs as a combined group, but some just feature the band or orchestra; such as the band’s “Irish Washerwomen”, or the orchestra’s “Hava Nagila”. A new addition to the music department this year is the orchestra’s chamber group, which features nine advanced musicians on string instruments. The entire concert will include twelve pieces with a variety of styles and themes. 

During the show, a British narrator will recite a famous holiday story, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. David Ervin is the ORHS band director, and was pleased to incorporate European culture in the concert to introduce the orchestra’s trip to England, Wales and Scotland. “Dylan Thomas, an unbelievable Welch poet, wrote this incredible Christmas story of what it was like to grow up in Wales,” explains Ervin. “It’s not like your typical sentimental story… but mostly it’s about what the [holidays] are really like; there’s the snoring uncles, and the strange useless gifts that you get.”

Andrea von Oeyen, the ORHS orchestra director, has seen a big growth this year within the string section, as the number of musicians has almost doubled. While choosing the pieces, von Oeyen explained, “[the music department] ended up doing some research on what music we already had, what music we could introduce to the orchestra and band that was new, and what we could do together. We also prepared some holiday tunes as well. I did a lot of research on the subject matter of what we were playing for regular orchestra and chamber.” 

Madeline Triff is a senior at ORHS who is part of the orchestra and is playing in her last concert of her high school career. “I will be leaving at the end of January to finish my last semester abroad in Toulouse, France,” says Triff. “I’m sad that it is my last concert with the orchestra and I’ll miss everybody very much.” Triff has been able to play with the orchestra throughout all of high school and said that she is very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the music department. 

Over the last semester, the music department has put a lot of work into this concert, and is looking forward to sharing what they have learned with the community. After this one, the next ORHS music department concert won’t take place until June, at the Portsmouth Music Hall, so be sure not to miss the concert and show your support for the musicians at ORHS. “We are doing a really neat collaborative multidisciplinary project at the show on Tuesday and we have quite the variety of music to show the public,” says von Oeyen.