Musicians Shine at Spring Band Concert

Parents, faculty, staff, friends, and loved ones filled the seats of Orthwein Theatre this week to enjoy a variety of music from sixth-grade, seventh-grade, eighth-grade and Upper School band students.

The sixth-grade band took the stage first, playing Excitation March by Rob Grice and American Folk Trilogy by Anne McGinty. Seventh grade then took over, offering A Quiet Rain by Walter Cummings and Fortune Favors the Bold by Matthew R. Putnam. Both grades then came together for a rousing rendition of Jurassic Park, arranged by Michael Sweeney. To the surprise and delight of the audience, a dinosaur paraded across the back of the stage to finish the song, which was rumored to have something to do with Instrumental Music Instructor Josh Baumgartner who was conspicuously absent from the stage during this particular performance.

Later, after the stage was reset, eighth-grade musicians played Awesome Sauce by Scott Watson and Hymnsong Variants by Robert W. Smith. They made way for the Upper School band, who kicked off their set with a creative piece called Paper Cut by Alex Shapiro. A significant part of the song involved the students using brightly-colored pieces of paper as instruments. The musicians then shared And The Fire Raged by Ted Ricketts and Heartbeat Five by Gary P. Gilroy. Finally, the eighth-graders returned for an 80s-themed Pep Band mash-up that included Industry Baby, Billie Jean, Beat It, Don’t Stop Believing, and Separate Ways.

The stage was once again reset for the Upper School Jazz Band performance, a delightful way to cap an outstanding evening of performances. These talented students played Funk Zone, Midnight Snack, Born to Be Wild, and Stompin’ at the Savoy, with many players featured in solos.

Upper School Band Director Becky Long celebrated several musicians near the end of the evening. The James Andrew Benecke ’06 Award went to Sam Fontana ’23. Chloe Cheng ’23 won the 1955 John Phillips Sousa Award, which has a special place in the hearts of Long and Baumgartner as they both earned this award themselves when they were in high school. Long also thanked all three seniors, Mike Elvin ’23, Cheng, and Fontana, for their amazing leadership and dedication to the MICDS band program and their fellow musicians.

Baumgartner, who is departing MICDS at the end of this school year, also received heartfelt appreciation from both the Middle and Upper School bands. He will be missed!

It was an outstanding evening celebrating music and the students who have dedicated themselves to the art.

Click here, here, or here for student-designed programs from the event.