PHS Orchestra and soloists assemble three long-practiced pieces
The annual winter concert will feature all of the PHS orchestras playing pieces from a variety of time periods and styles.
“PHS Orchestra will perform three pieces, one of them French romantic—Camille Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor … Jackie Hua will be performing. Then we move to some Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme, for cello and orchestra … performed by Nick Jin. Then we move to some Russian romantic, Anton Rubinstein, … and Vivian Huang will be our soloist for this,” said Robert Loughran, Director of the Orchestral Program at PHS.
The orchestras have been preparing their pieces since the beginning of the year and have become more musically aware as an ensemble.
“We’ve been preparing since we started the school year, with building ensemble awareness, balance, blend, intonation, maturity of phrasing, maturity of listening skills—everything that it takes to be able to produce a concert of this magnitude in December,” Loughran said.
However, the soloists have been practicing their pieces for a much longer time.
“When the second semester started last year, I asked Mr. Loughran if I could play a piece, and I originally was going to play a Schumann [piece], but my teacher later said I should play this one instead. I’ve been preparing it ever since March of last year,” Hua said.
The environment and location of the annual winter concert make it different from the orchestras’ annual spring concert.
“[The Winter Concert] is … a very festive environment. The setting is incredible … it’s this wonderful Neo-Gothic structure that has lots of majesty,” Loughran said.
The concert will be taking place from 8-10:30 pm at the Princeton University Chapel. Admission is free.
PHS Choir combines historical tradition with new varieties of music
On Thursday, December 22, the PHS choirs and orchestras will be performing in the 71st Annual Winter Concert at the Princeton University Chapel. Choir directors Vincent Metallo and Sarah Pelletier, along with orchestra director Robert Loughran, are organizing this event and choosing the performance pieces.
The choirs have been working to prepare for the concert since late October.
“Every day we’re learning the notes and rhythms, [in songs],” Pelletier said. “A lot of listening [and tuning] is required when [songs have] multiple parts, so it [involves] … listening to what’s going on around you and figuring out how your part fits in.”
“We have rehearsals every single day, [and] sometimes we split into sectionals, between girls and boys, so we can spend more time on each individual part. Then, once we’re ready we put all of the pieces together,” said Kate Li ’18, a member of PHS Choir.
The winter concert is quite different from regular choir performances.
“We’re singing a lot of [songs that are different from] stuff that we usually do,” Li said. “There are a bunch of choir songs and a gospel song. I think that’s a very interesting choice for us, because … usually we sing very [sacred choral] songs that have something to do with God.”
As part of concert tradition since 1998, PHS Choir will be taking part in the candlelight processional, and at the end, all of the choirs will be joined by school alumni in singing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah as well as a chorale from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
“The processional was written for 1998. It was written specifically for the choir’s German tour of all the Bach cities in Germany, and it was written for a specific church where Bach was employed,” Pelletier said. “The choir really fell in love with the piece, and we’ve continued to do it.”