ArtsFeb 13, 2020

Friendships and harmony in performing ensembles

Jazz and Rock Night showcases MHS ensembles, which offer students who love playing or singing to make music together and form lasting friendships

The year’s first installment of Jazz and Rock Night kicked off a musically busy time for the MHS community, with five groups taking to the stage in Centennial Hall to perform a variety of songs. The evening offered an opportunity to showcase some of the ensembles that entertain the Miss Hall’s community.

Miss Hall’s has an ensemble for everyone, including Vocal Ensemble, Jazz Band, Ukulele Band, Chamber Ensemble, and Grace Notes, a student-run a cappella group.

“Ensembles are a place for students to make friends who also have a passion for music,” says Music Teacher Debbie Duff. “Students often view their rehearsals as not just a time to learn and practice their music but also as a needed break in their busy day! It can re-energize them and provide a time for creativity and expression.”

Some groups are open to all, while others, such as Grace Notes, hold auditions. “Being a member of this group is a fun, lively, unforgettable experience,” says Grace Note Emily ’20. “You’ll even pick up some new musical skills, like learning to read music and getting a better ear for harmony!”

In addition to these groups, small groups of students are also welcome to form their own band, assisted by their faculty coach. All groups perform for the school community in biannual events such as Classical Music Night, Jazz and Rock Night, or the annual Song Fest, which are among the highlights of the year for students and faculty alike.

Jazz and Rock Night kicked off with the MHS Jazz Band performing its renditions of “Centerpiece” and “Christmas Time Is Here.” The group, directed by MHS Instrumental Music Instructor Rob Sanzone, featured Kathryn Barrett ’22 and Nya Mielke ’21 on alto saxophone; Megan Gong ’21 on guitar; Natasha Hagan ’21, bass; Randi McGeary ’22, clarinet; Olivia McKeon ’23, piano; Yoyo Wang ’21, drums; and Yvonne Cao ’22, keyboard.

The group “Daisy and friends” followed, performing the Chinese song, “Li Bai.” The group featured vocalists Daisy Feng ’22 and Bethany Song ’20, guitarist Megan Gong ’21, and drummer Yoyo Wang ’21. The MHS Ukulele Band — Emily Carmel ’20, Emma Kotelnicki ’20, Isabelle LaPierre ’20, Soleil Laurin ’20, Emma Nealon ’21, Meriel Nguyen ’20, Viola Quiles ’23, Ayla Wallace ’20, and Ginny Zhang ’20 — then took to the stage to perform the song, “Lover,” with Mr. Sanzone on bass ukulele.

Bethany then returned to the stage, this time to sing “Love Song” with “Bethany and friends,” a group that included violinist Calla Gong ’21, cellist Catherine Yang ’23, and drummer Betty Xiao ’20, with MHS Director of Music Debbie Duff on piano. The ever-popular band K.R.E.S. — Emily Carmel ’20, on vocals and electric guitar; Soleil Laurin ’20, on vocals and ukulele; Kate Nguyen ’20, on vocals and bass; and Riagain Wiley ’20 on vocals and ukulele — with Mr. Sanzone on cajón, closed the evening with the pop tune, “Hey Soul Sister.”

It was a wonderful night of music!