On April 15, the RHS choir and orchestra had their annual combined concert at West Side Presbyterian Church. This venue, inaugurated last year as a part of the groups’ concert series, was a welcome new addition and has proven to be a great success for both the performers and the spectators. In addition, the church, located across the street from George Washington Middle School, was renovated a few years ago and restored with beautiful stained glass windows and an overall modern look.
Performing at West Side Church is a highlight for most choir students. The acoustics in the church are on par with any theater or concert hall, and most agree that it is incredible that RHS offers such prestigious opportunities within the music programs. The concert is usually regarded as one of the best of the year.
To open the show, choir members sang the Norwegian chant-song Vuelie, best known as the opener for the Disney movie Frozen. Members of all three choirs spread out around the church and enveloped the audience with the sounds of the piece as the music echoed through the church. The concert was then followed by performances of the Ridgewood Voices, the Maroon Men, and the AcaBellas. The rest of the program consisted of various performances by the Symphonic Concert and Chamber Orchestras, as well as Chorale, Concert, and Chamber Choirs.
Some of the highlights of the evening, as reported by some of the students and audience members, were the Chamber Orchestra’s rendition of a challenging ten-minute long Mahler piece. A favorable second was the Chamber Choir’s performance of the Hallelujah Chorus by Beethoven.
The grand finale combined all of the orchestras, choirs, and some Wind Ensemble members into a powerful and memorable rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Members of the audience were encouraged to sing along during the chorus of the song, and the combination of hundreds of voices singing in unison, accompanied by such rousing instrumentation, was certainly a powerful way to end the concert.
Overall, it was an amazing night that brought the community together, showcased some of Ridgewood’s most talented musicians, and exposed people to a diverse variety of music from all over the world.