The 62nd annual Pioneer Concerto Concert sounded nothing like anything I’d ever played when I played the bassoon and the flute in high school band. And that’s a good thing.
From the first note played last night, I was undeniably impressed with the sound I heard from these high schoolers. There were moments that felt like the epic soundtrack from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” (incredible music, horrible movie), others that were as alluring as the beginning of Disney’s “Fantasia,” and still more where I felt as though I was in the setting of a big gothic church, listening to a beautiful choir. I sat in disbelief that I was listening to musicians that were 15 to 18 years old.
“The Pioneer Concerto Concert is ultimately a departmental showcase that features our phenomenal A Cappella Choir, the Symphony Orchestra, and selected students who won the right to perform with orchestra via competition in November,” Jonathan Glawe, director of orchestras, says. “All student performers are to be commended for their detailed work on these selections, and the soloists this year showed an exceptional skill for musical artistry, which is something our music department strives to achieve with each performance. ”
Many moments throughout the duration of the concert resonated with me. To start, in the first piece, “Magnificat” by Antonio Vivaldi, performed by the Pioneer Chamber Strings and the A Cappella Choir, the violins and violas created what I can only describe as an enchanting sound and the ladies in the A Cappella group produced magnificent harmonies. This started the show off on the right foot.
Then, the five senior solos began. Martin Ahn was up first on the piano. His selection was “Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 37,” by Ludwig van Beethoven. I found myself captivated by how quickly and flawlessly his fingers moved from one end of the piano to the other. It was not only mesmerizing to watch, but to listen to. He was joined by the Pioneer Symphony Orchestra who played powerfully and poised.
Next up, William Meng on flute. His tone was beautiful and I was amazed at how well he was able to keep this tone while playing at an allegro (fast) pace and transitioning through a wide range of both low and high notes.
Sophia Janevic played the violin with her entire heart and soul. It was as much fun to watch her play with how into it she was, as it was to hear her play. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. She’s an amazing talent.
“Un Moto di Gioia from Le Nozze di Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was sung by soprano, Carly Nadeau. Her voice is strikingly strong, but not so overpowering that it takes away from its grace and elegance.
Greg Papaefthymiou rounded out the evening on the trumpet. His sound was haunting beautiful at the start and then transitioned into great energy as the music sped up. It was fun to listen to the variances in pace and the change in feeling throughout.
It’s safe to say that Schreiber Auditorium is the place to be if you’re looking for a great, musical night.