Spring Concert Recap: Senior Highlights


Leonard Splendoria

The CGHS band and Danielle DiPietro '18 playing in "Feelin' Good"

Nicholas Splendoria, Junior Reporter

On May 15 the Music Department here at CGHS again showcased their talents with their annual Spring Concert. Under the direction of Mrs. Jessen and Mr. Savino, the orchestra, band, and both choirs performed a variety of pieces, ranging from traditional to South African music.

Each group had their own chance to perform, and the orchestra began the evening with Telemann’s “Concerto in D” and ending with the epic “Conquistador” by Deborah B. Monday. The choir set was much longer than orchestra and band, as both Concert and Select Choir had their moments. Their set began with “Fly Away Home” by Pink Zebra which featured Lizzie Niemiec ‘18 and Peter Corso ‘19 as soloists. Peter Corso also student conducted “Lift Thine Eyes” by Felix Mendelssohn, which is an all girls piece. Corso received recognition for his conducting skills by the judicators on their recent Boston Trip, and has honed in on this hidden talent as he is one of only two boys in choir. Katrina Abedini was also featured as a student conductor in the traditional German piece “Alle Meine Kleider.” She also helped to teach the Concert Choir the words and pronunciations, helping to get them to step out of their comfort zone. One of the major undertakings of both choirs is Vivaldi’s major work the “Gloria,” which was a work commissioned for Mass in the 1700s. Cedar Grove partnered with Passaic Valley High School, and they are undertaking the work together. The last group to perform was the Jazz Band, and at some point throughout all of their pieces each member was featured in their own regard. The concert ended with the band accompanying Danielle DiPietro as a soloist in “Feelin’ Good” by Roger Holmes.

A rock of the Orchestra at CGHS for the past two years has been Karim Homsi ‘18, an accomplished pianist. As one of the most accomplished pianists in the school, Karim is excited to perform challenging pieces, so the entire orchestra can grow together. This has been one of his favorite experiences at the high school, as his favorite experience in the music department was performing in the difficult Schubert’s “Mass in G” last spring concert. He is excited that the choir and orchestra are attempting difficult pieces because “we should be playing this level because we have a really nice choir and players.” Karim is upset to be leaving, but he is encouraging freshman to join the orchestra, especially a piano player that will be able to fill his shoes next year.           

The choir is losing many talented seniors this year, and one of the most dedicated musicians has been Lizzie Niemic ‘18.  She has done both orchestra and choir, playing the violin all four years and singing for three years. When it came to performing difficult pieces, she just smiled and said it was fun, and that her past choral experience has helped prepare them for it. Though they are able to tackle hard pieces, she acknowledges that the choir has had its own obstacles, like having the girls significantly outnumber the boys in choir. Her favorite memory has been the Florida trip her Sophomore year, and she was excited to perform at Universal Studios in front of a new audience. Being in the music department has been, “one of the best experiences I’ve [Lizzie’s] had in high school and getting involved in it is really good.”   

For band, one of their rockstars, Mac Cunnif ‘18, will also be leaving the CGHS music department. Mac has been in the band since Freshman year, as well as performing in the musicals where he was featured as a dancer in many of the productions. Mac was a little nervous for his solo in the concert, and the band wanted to be able to master their difficult pieces, especially “Feelin’ Good,” where the band needed to stay in time with their singer. Like many of the other groups, band has struggled with membership, but he noted Mrs. Jessen was able to make the small band work by making musicians play parts not written for their particular instrument. Mac’s favorite memory was the music department’s trip to a school in Vermont every other year, where they are able to perform for a new community at a school where a colleague of Mrs. Jessen teaches. Mac admits that his last concert will be emotional, but that students should, “definitely stick with it throughout high school. [Music] is not something you should just take once; it’s something that you should stick with.”

In addition to the Spring Concert in May, Passaic Valley will return on June 11th to perform the full Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with Concert and Select Choir. The piece, which itself lasts around a half hour, has many instrumental parts, and professional musicians are playing the various string parts. However, Karim Homsi and Owen Posnett ‘20 will be playing the piano parts. Posnett was not able to fit band into his schedule, and was put into Concert Choir instead, so he has been their accompanist for the year, as well as playing in the band when he can.
Another spring concert has come and gone, and all the seniors in the music department have said farewell to a program they gave so much to. The staff of the Pride would like to congratulate all the seniors in the music department and wish them good luck in their future endeavors!