Sounds of holiday season fill NPHS

Hayden Mackay performs with the North Penn Band at the annual holiday concert.

TOWAMENCIN- It dazzles audiences every year, and highlights some of the best local musical talent one can find at the holiday season.  However, the North Penn High School winter concert did not just happen overnight; it required practice from these talented musicians and the passionate dedication of their directors. North Penn High School held its annual holiday concert on Wednesday night in the NPHS auditorium,  and every bit of that passion and dedication was on display.

As audience members entered the high school, they were greeted by the harmonious sounds of the Chamber Singers that resounded throughout the auditorium lobby. The Chamber Singers set the bar high for the rest of the night, where various other musical groups would continue the merry musical  spirits for the packed auditorium.

“It’s always great to stand up on stage and see that you brought out a large crowd; knowing that everyone you see in the audience is there to support you is just a great feeling,” said senior chamber singer and chorus member Matthew Krise.

As the lights dimmed in the auditorium, the first act of the night was the North Penn Band, who recently had the opportunity to travel all the way to Hawaii to play for a Pearl Harbor Memorial. Under the direction of  Mr. Michael Britcher, the band transitioned from playing in the tropics, to playing festive pieces for the Winter Concert.

“I thought the kids were awesome; the band did a tremendous job from the first downbeat to the last note we played. I am very, very proud of them,” said Britcher.

The band’s music selection featured some challenging pieces, such as Minor Alterations by David Lovrien, that was originally written for a professional band. After countless hours of practice, the band was pleased with their performance as a whole and credited their conductor for their success.

“I thought we played well tonight; Mr. Britcher did a great job of conducting our large ensemble,” said senior band member Jimmy Dooling.

After the band, the Comprehensive Music Technology Class took the stage for a cutting-edge technical music performance. The group is comprised of students enrolled in the CMT class, taught by Mr. Dan Tumolo, where they work with music programs to make the music they perform.

Following  the CMT ensemble, Orchestra Director Miss Erica Milbourne and the Chamber Orchestra went center stage for a holiday concerto, followed by performances from the entire orchestra. The orchestra performed the Festive Sounds of Hanukkah by Bill Holcombe as well as Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo arranged by Bob Phillips to add to the holiday spirit of the night.

“I love the Winter Concert for so many reasons. Music brings people together. Our students, their family and friends, the North Penn community, and our alumni all come together for the holiday season. For us, there is no greater gift we can share than the gift of music,” said Milbourne.

After hearing the soothing sounds of the strings, the audience was treated to the vibrant voices of the North Penn Chorus, directed by Mr. Matthew Klenk. The chorus performed a variety of pieces, such as a Hebrew text to some classic holiday favorites.

“I was very impressed with how much the students were committed to the music’s meaning and emotion,” said Klenk.

The chorus also performed Glow by Eric Wright by turning off all of the lights and lighting up the auditorium with small handheld lights and their shining vocals instead.

“It wasn’t until about a month into rehearsal that I thought about the lights, but I’m really glad we did that because it is a piece that is about atmosphere, and the lights helped create it,” said Klenk.

“I thought we were great; we had a lot of energy, and we had a good time. It is such a big relief to finally perform after all the practice leading up to it,” said senior chorus member Daniel Wescoe.

The Winter Concert concluded with the annual finale of the Hallelujah Chorus, combining the Chorus and Orchestra, as well as  any alumni in the audience, to perform the well known Hallelujah by G.F Handel.

“It has always been my dream that there would be a legacy here where people who were involved in the music program would have a positive enough experience to want to come back, and every year we see more people,” said Klenk, “I spend the Hallelujah Chorus not focusing on the music, but looking around at all of the old faces in the crowd,” joked Klenk.

“Singing in the Hallelujah Chorus is my favorite part on the winter concert because I get to sing with the alumni. I can’t wait until I graduate and get to come back to North Penn to do the same thing,” said senior chorus member Kayla Harnett.

Upon leaving the auditorium (that still seemed the echo with the magical sounds of the Winter Concert), the audience was lastly treated with the Brass Quintet playing music in the auditorium lobby.

“This is the only time of year where we get to showcase our entire music department, so that really brought out a packed crowd tonight. I cannot thank the community enough and the parents for continuing to make music a part of their children’s lives,” said Britcher.