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By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Students from the Westwood middle and high schools held their winter concert on Wednesday night in the high school auditorium. With the help of a spectacular light crew, singers, string instrumentalists, horns and percussionists transported the audience for an hour to a land of wintertime wonder.
The middle school Select Chorus and Chamber Orchestra started out the evening with a joint arrangement of “Winter Dreams” by Pink Zebra. As the number ended and the Select Chorus filed out and the 8th Grade Chorus filed in, The Chamber Orchestra gave the audience a quick display of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
The 8th grade launched into an arrangement of “Shiru l’Adonai” that bounced with the flicker of a lit menorah, a performance of “The Lighthouse” with the stillness and tranquility of a fresh snowfall, and peppy versions of “We Need a Little Christmas” and “Sisi Ni Moja.”
The high school chorus kicked off their set with a Michael Buble arrangement of “Jingle Bells,” featuring Billy Girard on the opening vocal solo, and a backing of trumpet, saxophone, bass and trombone. Then it was off to a “Winter Wonderland,” backed by Kevin Lyons’ snowflake electric guitar licks, the bass of Hannah Stairs, and Eli Feldman on the drums.
Chorus director Robert Goldman then took the mic as a screen descended above him.
“I was thinking about my seniors the other night. Your kids, the kids I work with every day, it seems like just yesterday they were ninth graders, and now they’re entering their last semester. It’s the blink of an eye. Its special though, and they’re special at every age.”
The chorus then began a heartfelt performance of “The Christmas Song,” “to kids from one to ninety-two.” Meanwhile, above them, pictures of each senior chorus member as a child at Christmastime cycled on the screen.
One of the most powerful moments of the night came at the outset of “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime,” a Broadway show about a black New York City pianist who believes in change through voice not violence, yet is gunned down and silenced by police.
Taking center stage as a piano played softly in the background, the soloists addressed the crowd:
“Though set at the turn of the twentieth century, many of the lyrics of this song parallel modern-day issues. Whatever your stance, go out and tell your story and make them hear you, because if you speak through your voice, through your words, rather than violence, it will lead to dramatic change.”
The night ended on a joyful note, with an impressive medley from Disney’s “Frozen.” The song featured too many talented soloists to list here, some light theatrics, and closed with the middle school choruses joining the high schoolers on stage.