Various changes have been made to the Northwood’s music program’s concert schedule this year, including a merged fall and winter concert, a change in the pops concert date and a pushing-back of the composition and chamber music project.
Last spring, the music teachers at Northwood held a meeting in which they decided to make these changes in the hopes that it would be beneficial to both the quality of the performances and the education of the students performing.
“We decided to put a lot of focus and attention towards those fundamentals, which, in terms of the bands and orchestras, include ensemble building, ensemble sound, listening and technique building, but not worry about trying to cram that all in very quickly, right before concerts,” VAPA chair and instrumental music teacher Ben Case said.
A notable change made to fit this revised focus is the removal of the fall concert for both instrumental and vocal music. The fall concert will instead be combined with what was formerly the winter concert, and take place in the first week of December, with the winter gala scheduled to take place a week after this concert.
The pops concert, which had typically been held at the end of May, will now be held on the last week of April, so as not to conflict with AP testing schedules.
“It will be the week before AP tests start,” Case said. “This will allow us to give these concerts before the stress of AP tests, since during the AP testing times, it’s not uncommon to have a rehearsal where you’re missing a quarter to half of the class, and to put a concert on immediately after that would be really really challenging.”
An additional change to the schedule applies to the composition and chamber music project, which will now take place after the pops concert rather than at the end of the first semester. Another addition to the instrumental music schedule is a chamber honors concert, which will be held on the day of the end of the year celebration and will feature groups selected from each of the eight instrumental music ensembles, who will perform their compositions or chamber pieces.
“The thought is, let’s try it; if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and we can always go back and switch it to something else,’” Case said. “But it’s better to take that chance than to just keep going status quo when we know there might be a better way, especially if we identified things like student stress as being an issue.”