'We were just planning the theme when the song popped into my head and I thought it would be a perfect fit for our Percussion group' said Music Teacher Mr. Armstrong on choosing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah to open the second half of the High School Choir and Band concert last week.
The theme of the concert was Songs of Faith and Devotion, and Mr. Armstrong explained 'I wanted [the audience] to be able to relax and let the music wash over them. When that happens, whatever feelings come, we've done our job well.'
The students that performed Hallelujah come from different musical backgrounds such as piano and drums, but for this concert they had to become familiar with the bells, xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone. 'The challenge for the students was learning the proper movement, the right stroke, to draw out the proper tone and volume' explained Mr. Armstrong.
Antek, a student in the band, came from a clarinet background, but learned to play the vibraphone for Percussion Ensemble. As he became more proficient, he took on a leadership role, helping others and demonstrating how to play. 'I think ASW students tend to lead by example' said Mr. Armstrong.
Another student, Aitor, has a strong background on drum set. For Hallelujah he had to learn a new pattern using compound meter, which Mr. Armstrong described as 'a challenging feel, dividing each beat into divisions of 3 and 2 at the same time... Such a cool sound... and Aitor did a great job getting the cymbal part to sound effortless.'
One of ASW's Core Values is 'Bounce back when things don't go your way'. Commenting on this, Mr. Armstrong said 'we have to accept that stuff happens during concerts. What tends to alleviate the stress [of concerts] is really simple - thorough preparation and practice.'
Read more about our Music program and watch the full concert below, featuring performances by Ms. Bechdolt's HS Choir and Mr. Armstrong's HS Wind Ensemble.
The MS concert will be live streamed on 14th November 2017 at 6pm.