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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Late fall and winter shows call forth festive feels

SEASON’S SYMPHONIES: Students showcase their musical talent onstage as an assortment of rhythms and melodies intertwine, marking the start of a festive season.

“Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Northwood Choir,” choir director Tyler Alessi’s voice booms into the theatre. The audience is on their feet, embracing holiday cheer alongside Northwood Performing Arts students in performances throughout November and December.

IUSD Choral Festival

The Bel Canto ensemble represented Northwood at the annual IUSD Choral Festival on Nov. 2 at Portola High School. As the final performance of the concert, Bel Canto singers showcased Northwood’s choir program to all IUSD high schools.

For many performers, this was their first time attending a festival. Students were excited to leave their comfort zone to present challenging music to the audience while learning to make adjustments based on their new performing environment in Portola’s Performing Arts Center.

“It was really inspiring to hear the other groups, and just a really enjoyable experience,” Bel Canto member sophomore Shriya Balaji said. “It felt amazing to represent Northwood because we pushed ourselves musically and showed what Northwood students can do.”

For Alessi, this was an opportunity to teach students important musical lessons while curating a set that brought out the group’s strengths and conveyed a meaningful message to the audience.

“At the beginning, we started with ‘I Am a Cloud,’ which is a pedagogical approach to music that is going to teach us fundamental things such as rhythm, pitch and tone,” Alessi said. “Another piece, ‘I Ask for One Day’ is a pleading piece that has a feeling of hopefulness which we contrasted with ‘Fire and Ice.’”

Following the performance, the choir received feedback from adjudicator Brandon Elliot, allowing students to reflect upon their experience and grow as artists through constructive criticism.

“It really made me reflect on the fundamentals of vocals rather than the more complicated things,” Bel Canto freshman Sonia Khot said. “The feedback we got from the choral music director really helped our choir grow with our tone and dynamics in future pieces.”

Northwood Instrumental’s Winter Concert

Northwood’s orchestras and bands performed at their annual Finter concerts on Nov. 29 and 30, combining fall and winter themed selections at their first concert of the year.

Split into two days, the concert featured every instrumental program. Particular selections from the “Nightmare Before Christmas” and fondly known Christmas carols alongside lyrical pieces such as “Summer Dances” kept the audience engaged throughout the two hour long concert.

The Philharmonic Orchestra performed the first movement of “Symphony No. 40” by Mozart, alongside a Christmas carol mashup. Following an impromptu switch in set order, they first delivered “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” broken up by solos from concertmaster junior Lucas Nguyen and violinist junior Anna Cho. Sophomore George Xie performed solo sections throughout the piece on piano.

The Christmas set was really fun to play, and we got a lot of students involved through wind instruments, string instruments, and more,” cellist junior Yufei Chen said. “Our section this year has been really, really energetic and we have a great bond. This is the most fun our section has ever been, and it’s really great.”

The second night brought a full house. The Guitar Ensemble, whose members were performing on their instruments for the first time, performed renditions of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Silent Night,” coupled with Concert Band’s performance of the Christmas classic “Last Christmas,” where the audience and fellow performers began clapping and singing along.

“These bands have incredible passion and drive,” student teacher Cole Quizon said during his concert directing debut at Northwood. “They’re all able to pick up new instruments and deliver the pieces with such emotional intelligence.”

Northwood Holiday Concert

Northwood’s choral program held its annual winter concert on Dec. 5, allowing students to build on their “Informance” to showcase pieces that are technically more challenging. This was the first official concert for beginning ensembles Treble Clef and Bass Clef.

“I was so excited leading up to the concert,” Treble Clef freshman Aria Kamat said. “Our songs are really beautiful, and the atmosphere was just so festive that I had so much fun hearing and performing what the choirs had to show.”

All choirs had a joint message of celebrating the holidays and the unity found through collective celebration. The performances reflected diversity in cultural observances of the Northwood community.

Bel Canto performed “Al Shlosha D’varim,” a piece that emphasizes Judaism’s belief that the world is sustained by truth, justice and peace.

“Especially right now with what’s happening in the world, it’s really important that we’re singing diverse pieces,” Bel Canto senior Rachel Rubin said. “Whenever I’m singing in Hebrew, I feel so connected to my culture.”

As the finale, all choir singers gathered to sing “Issay Issay,” an Ethiopian Christmas piece, which uses the North African language Amharic to convey the story of Jesus Christ’s birth.

“Everyone had a lot of energy when performing the piece on stage,” Viva Cantar junior Audrey Xu said. “Overall, having the whole choir sing carried the message of what the piece really means, which is rejoicing and celebrating together.”

Following these performances, the choral and instrumental programs will work together for the upcoming Winter Gala concert, which will be held on Dec. 15. This program will blend vocal and instrumental performances to allow both programs to collaborate and celebrate their musicality.

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About the Contributors
Shreya Aithal
Shreya Aithal, Staff Writer
Shreya Aithal is a Northwood junior and staff writer for the Howler. She loves to aggressively float in water and dance and she naps whenever she can. She can typically be found at school until at least 5 p.m. so if you ever need company, she'll be there, but she might be spreading at a pitch only dogs can hear or drowning in bio notes.
Riya Gupta, Sports Editor
Riya, the Spring Sports Editor at the Northwood Howler, is a junior with boundless enthusiasm packed into a petite frame. Despite her small stature, she radiates the unmistakable aura of someone with tall person energy. When she's not busy doing homework, Riya enjoys indulging in her two passions: ice cream and channeling her inner Snoopy, constantly striving to attain his legendary level of coolness.
Andrew Le
Andrew Le, Photographer
Andrew Le is a Northwood Junior and a photographer for The Howler. He spends his time trying to catch up on F1 (and watching everyone try to catch up to Max), listening to music, riding bikes, or sleeping.

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