The first recital of the Maroon and White Classical Concert Series on November 19 proved that Ridgewood High School is not short of artistic talent. The one-hour event showcased performances by Katherine Van Buskirk (vocals), Lena Yannella (piano), Stephanie Pizza (flute), and Morgan Mastrangelo (vocals). The night also served as an introduction of the school’s new piano which was donated by the HSA and Friends of Music. A Ridgewood family that was moving generously gave the grand piano a new home in which it would be greatly useful.
In past years, the concert series was held in the Campus Center, which sat 500 people and generated a rather distant setting between the audience and solo performer. However, this year, the concert took place in the Learning Commons with an intimate atmosphere and great acoustics. Behind the new piano, several works of art were on display by Roya Nasseri, Minha Lee, and Kate Johansen, with even more art in the Carroll Art Gallery. It was a beautiful setting for people to come and listen to music. Plus, the reception following the concert boasted plates of cookies, fruit, and refreshments.
The two seniors, Stephanie Pizza and Morgan Mastrangelo, both gave breathtaking performances. Stephanie Pizza played a dramatic, modern chamber piece for the flute and piano, written in 1939 by Swiss composer Frank Martin. In addition, the audience enjoyed her performance of the first two movements of the ornate and elegant classical Flute Concerto in D-minor by W.A Mozart. Stephanie is a student in the honors program at Mannes College Preparatory Division and has earned many honors and awards. She plays in the NJ Region I Honors Band, NJ All State Symphonic Band, RHS Wind Ensemble, and as the flutist in various RHS musical productions.
Morgan Mastrangelo was just as impressive. He performed songs of different genres in Italian, German, and English. His repertoire included Schumann’s highly sensitive, quintessentially romantic song cycle, “Dein Angesicht so lieb und schon,” as well as contemporary Broadway songs from the musicals “Les Miserables” and “Catch Me If You Can.” Morgan has developed his beautiful tenor voice as a member of the RHS Choir, Maroon Men, Ridgewood Voices, Ridgewood Carolers, Nj All-State Mixed Chorus, in addition to his lead roles in musicals performed by the RHS New Players.
Junior Katherine Van Buskirk was another talented vocalist in the concert. A member of the Ridgewood AcaBellas, Chamber Choir, and NJ All State Treble Chorus, she sang pieces by Baroque composer, Handel, in Italian as well as modern composers, Edward McDowell and Jason Brown. The youngest performer, Lena Yannella, a sophomore and piano student at the Manhattan School of Music, performed an elegant well-known waltz by the romantic composer, Frederic Chopin.
Upcoming concerts will be held in the Learning Commons at 3:30 pm on January 14, February 4, March 3, and April 28.