A night of musical wonders

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Cindy Macias

On Wednesday, May 22, Crescendo vocalists Rudy Amaya, 10, Justin Ortiz, 12, and Frank Macias, 11, perform solos in “Home”, arranged by Greg Gilpin with The Viking Singers, in the Downey High theatre during the 2013 Spring Concert. The three Crescendo vocalists ended the night with the Crescendo Choir singing “Peze Kafé”.

Rodas Hailu , Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, May 22, Downey High’s award winning band and choir held their annual Spring Concert for eager parents and friends in the B building theater.

The two and a half hour recital began with the concert band performing “Flashing Winds,” which consisted of a mostly brass-based section playing.  The band then moved to a piece called “The Red River Valley,” which Matthew Fell, the associate director of the musical group, dedicated to his high school band coach.

As a way to thank former instructors, Andrea Keen and Tony Reyna, East and Sussman Middle School band teachers respectively, as well as Mark Alpizar, Downey’s woodwind coach, each mentor conducted a movement of the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Greig.

As a bass clarinetist in concert band, junior Yasmeen De La Torre, reflects on her time performing with her non-immediate family.

“I think band is a big family,” De La Torre said. “A lot of people think it’s lame, but you don’t know band until you’re in band. You can’t leave it. Once you’re in it, you’re in it.

The next group that performed was the wind ensemble section, playing music that ranged from film score productions from Les Miserables to popular Venezuelan melodies.

Clarinetist Sophie Prettyman made sure when she performed the three pieces with the band, she would not get nervous.

“I was feeling relaxed,” Prettyman said. “It wasn’t really nerve-wracking because we’ve done things like this before.”

After the intermission, band members cleared their things off stage to give room for beginning and advanced choir groups. The Viking Singers, which consists of students who are interested in singing but have never been given the tools to enhance their skills, prepared themselves for renditions of “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Dinner?,” “Bonse Aba,” and “Home.”

Once The Viking Singers concluded their performance, it was time for Crescendo! to come onstage. Crescendo! is made up of more advanced and technical singers. As accompanied by pianist Rachel Glazener, a fellow Biola University alum and friend of Fell, the group sang a variety of music that ranged from Haitian stories to an American melody that drew inspiration from Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

Christine Prettyman, Sophie’s mother, did not have to stay for the rest of the concert since her daughter only performed in the concert band and wind ensemble shows; however, she was glad that she stayed to watch the choirs sing their hearts out.

“I was originally not planning to stay, but I watched the choir groups because I was blown away,” Prettyman said. “They sang songs in different languages, which was unusual, but beautiful. The complicated music was moving, everybody was tapping their feet.”

Although this was the last full concert of the year for the band and choir groups, another year awaits for eager parents and friends to be captivated by the enticing music once again.