Winter Band Concert Kicks Off the Holiday Season

The Winter Band Showcase normally draws quite a crowd to the Orthwein Theatre. The 2020 Showcase also drew a crowd…this time online! Students, parents, and family members logged into Zoom last week for a festive display of holiday cheer, hosted by our incredible band leaders Mrs. Becky Long and Mr. Josh Baumgartner.

The celebration got underway with a special treat: Head of School Jay Rainey took to the grand piano in Eliot Chapel to perform a variety of traditional carols as guests entered the Zoom space. He chose the chapel to give students a glimpse into one of our wonderful gathering spaces since they could not be together to play as an ensemble.

Once all the students were logged in, Long began the formal program by welcoming students and families. She and Baumgartner expressed gratitude for all the hard work of the band students and the support of their families, and then explained how the evening would unfold.

For many of the songs, each performer played their instrument at home to a SmartMusic backing track over Zoom. The audience heard their musician live, and could see their classmates on the screen. Click here for the full program. One lively surprise was a Winter Showcase Jam by the 8th grade percussion team, who performed O, Come All Ye Faithful as recorded by the rock band Twisted Sister.

Two videos had been recorded on campus, and Long shared them for everyone to enjoy. The 9th and 10th grade in-person learners had gathered – far apart – in Brauer Auditorium to perform Ode to Joy, arranged by Walter Barnes. Eleventh and 12th grade students, along with Baumgartner and Long, played in musician pods in the Upper School band room, performing A Mad Russian’s Christmas, arranged by Bob Phillips.

At the end of the program, viewers received a special treat: performances by the band teachers themselves! Baumgartner played his saxophone, offering a jazzy rendition of On the Sunny Side of the Street written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields to lots of virtual applause.

Long was thanking him when everyone heard a different sound: a doorbell! She took her camera to the door so everyone could see who was there. Why, it was Santa! He had heard about the MICDS Winter Band Showcase and stopped by. Who knew Santa could play the keys so well? Long picked up her flute, and together they performed a rousing duet of Winter Wonderland.

What a great way to kick off our holiday season. Many thanks to our dedicated band teachers for making the best of our socially-distanced situation and creating a memorable experience for all.

Watch the full concert here: