Among its highlights for the week of December 10th, 2021, RHS Weekly proudly showcased this year’s RHS Winter Concerts–marking the official return of an in-person Music Department.
The RHS Choir Winter Concert will be held on Wednesday, December 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center, following suit to the RHS Band and Orchestra programs. Its first Winter Concert since 2019, the RHS Band Program kicked off the return on Tuesday, December 7th. The RHS Orchestra followed suit on Wednesday, December 8th. A total of 180 students participated, making the long-awaited transition from Zoom screens to playing in front of a live audience again.
Harin Jeong, a violinist in the RHS Chamber Orchestra, commented on the disconnect of an online orchestra experience: “When we were online, I remember having to record a lot on platforms like Smart Music and Upbeat. They weren’t bad platforms per say, but nothing can compare to the in-person experience of orchestra. I was frustrated, I think, because the quality of my playing wouldn’t translate as well onto those websites.”
She goes on to talk about the regained camaraderie she feels when playing with her peers, along with the importance of an in-person orchestra from a musical perspective: “Orchestra’s meant to be a team activity, so it felt quite lonely doing it online. Being in person for orchestra feels a lot more fun overall. I forgot how great it feels to have a stand partner and work out parts together, and also how it feels to listen to the other sections of the orchestra right in front of you as you play.”
Maggie Hough, a trombone in the RHS band, expresses similar sentiments about the benefits of in-person instruction: “Being back in person is so much better than playing online–it’s so great to be able to hear all the sections coming together to make music, instead of just playing to a backing track like we had been for the past year. It definitely took some adjustments to get used to playing with a conductor and having to focus on what used to be considered the basics of playing in an ensemble, such as uniform style, interpretation, dynamics, etc.”
Overall, the return of an in-person Music Department is an opportunity for live audiences to appreciate the hard work of students and faculty in the RHS Band, Orchestra, and Choir programs once again. Not only that, but it is another step toward a safe return to pre-pandemic times, with students and faculty being able to work with each other face-to-face. Harin concluded, “I feel a lot more engaged in orchestra this year. The concert especially, performing in front of a bigger live audience, playing after having rehearsed not alone but with the entire orchestra for months, watching the other orchestras perform as well, felt really exciting and restored some hope in me about COVID.”
Graphic: Riddhima Patllollu