It’s The Most Musical Time Of The Year


Cole Bennett, Editor-in-Chief

The Holiday season is traditionally filled with music. Lots of songs are devoted to the various holidays throughout November and December. Every year, the Grand Ledge Music Program plays some of these songs in their Collage Concerts. These concerts feature both the band and the choir, as well as several solo and ensemble performances from various students.

In preparation for the Michigan Music Conference, the Grand Ledge Wind Symphony has been hard at work. With over a half hour of difficult music to play, and just over a month to rehearse it, there has not been a lot of time to devote to the Collage Concert. Therefore, this year, the band broke their annual tradition, and instead of playing Sleigh Ride, a complicated and highly technical piece, the band played a slow, melodic interpretation of Silent Night, arranged by James Swearingen.

The full list of Wind Symphony songs was as follows: Humoresque by Kimberly K. Archer, Shadowdances by Kent Boulton, Dragon Sky by Julie Giroux, and Silent Night.

The Symphony Band wowed audiences as well with their impressive line-up. Two years ago, at the last Collage Concert, The Madrigals sang an incredible rendition of the traditional folk song, Cindy. Well, this time around, the Symphony Band gave it a shot, playing an excerpt from the song in their rendition of Kentucky 1800, arranged by Clare Grundman. They also played Bobsled Run, arranged by Lloyd Conley, and Christmas Winds Overture, arranged by Douglas E. Wagner.

Several choirs performed at the Collage Concerts. The Madrigals stole the show this year with their comical rendition of Straight No Chaser’s The Christmas Can-Can. They also sang The Winter’s Night, by Nicholas Meyers, and Carol of the Bells, arranged by Peter Wilhousky.

The Concert Choir, the Bel Canto, and the Vocal Ensemble also performed lots of classic holiday songs, such as Jing-a-ling by Mac Huff, Jingle Bells, arranged by Jack Gold and Marty Piach, and This Little Babe by Benjamin Britten. All of the ladies came together to sing Truth, by Andrea Ramsey, and the guys came together to end the year of the sea shanty with The Wellerman, arranged by choir teacher Daniel Dade.

Throughout the show, lots of solo acts and ensemble groups perform as well. Highlights of this year were Yeezus, arranged by Steve Wulff and performed by percussionists Becca Foster, Isaac Hinshaw, Noah Vandlen, Brooke Vergerg, and Finn Weinstein, Carol of the Bells, arranged by Regis Bookshar and played by a clarinet octet consisting of Madison Fischer, Corlycia Israel, Connor Johnson, Sarah Lawrence, Haley Lay, Xavier Smith, Josie Starr, and Lindsey Walczak, Once Upon a December by David Newman, sung by Maddie Wotruba, and O Holy Night, arranged by Rick Walten, played on trumpet by Jade Friedlis.

“Not gonna lie, it was very nerve-wracking, especially coming from Covid, I’m not used to playing in front of people. It felt different than it had in the past, but throughout the performance, I think I got over it.” said Friedlis.

All the choirs came together to team up with the Wind Symphony for an intense finale movement. They sang/played O Fortuna, arranged by Carl Orff, to close out the show.

After a year away from performing, it was nice to experience such a large concert event. Lots of people gave it their all to spread holiday joy through their performances. “I think it was good. It was like, as good as we’d rehearsed, and we had rehearsed a lot,”  Friedlis.