Select Ensembles Showcase

On Wednesday Feb. 21, Perkiomen Valley High School’s select ensembles donned their black dress shirts and dresses and performed to a full house. The wind ensemble, treble, bass and select choirs, chamber and symphony orchestras and jazz band showcased their impressive repertoires in the school’s auditorium.

The students auditioned and dedicated their time after school to learn and practice an array of advanced music pieces to be members of these specialized performance groups.

Select Choir performed a standout performance of Old MacDonald, featuring realistic animal calls alongside the onomatopoeia found in the original nursery rhyme. The crowd roared as each new farm animal was introduced. Mr. Mallitz, the choir director, said he chose the song because it’s often all he listens to with his two-year-old daughter.

New this school year, Select Choir became an elective class in addition to an extracurricular. Current freshmen, sophomores and juniors in choir have to audition to earn a spot in next year’s Select Choir. The class meets daily, allowing more practice time to learn the additional songs outside of their class-based ensemble. Though students may face a learning curve in sight reading, they are eligible for bonus performances throughout the year.

“The Select Choir class allows for more ground to be covered in less time, letting us learn and perform more songs and perform at venues outside of typical school concerts,” Rachael Dubrow, a senior in Select Choir and select orchestras, said.

Jazz Band performed three unique songs that fit perfectly with their lineups over the years: funky, mysterious and a tempo to make the crowd dance. The audience clapped enthusiastically after each solo.

The symphony orchestra performed The Planets; Mars by Gustav Holst, and within was a non-traditional technique called col legno. Col legno (Italian for “with the wood”) is when players strike the strings with the wood of their bow rather than the hair. The unique musicality of the bow tapping against the strings adds to the emotion and tension of the piece. Furthermore, the control of one’s bow as it bounces off the strings is important to maintain a steady tempo, making this song worthy of the select ensemble status.

Attendance at the concert was high, with some crowding near the entrances while looking for one of the few available seats. Parents and students alike came out, showing their support for their children and friends. The time and effort the ensembles put into learning and rehearsing their catalog of music paid off as the crowd clapped and cheered after each piece.

“We’re waiting for Mr. Suloman to signal us to put our bows down, and we hear the applause, and all the hard work in and out of school for this moment is worth it,” Rachael said.

Below are the upcoming spring concerts:
Band concert – April 25
Choir concert – May 8
Orchestra concert – April 30
Each concert begins at 7:30 pm in the High School auditorium.