2018 Winter Music and Dance Concert Review

Ian Hua, Copy Editor

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On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the musicians and dancers of MacDuffie lined up in the main hallway, ready to practice their curtain call which would cap off the Music and Dance concert held on Dec. 7 and 8. The ensuing 45 minutes of arduous practice was well worth it, as it would provide a festive, exciting, and proud conclusion to a well deserving show.

As a whole, the show was organized effectively; it alternated between choral numbers, instrumentals, and dances in such a way that the audience’s excitement and interest never waned. The mood of consecutive pieces sometimes sharply changed direction, such as moving from a tinkling, classic Christmas song, “Let it Snow,” performed by the Upper School Instrumental Ensemble to “Paradigm Shift”a jarring and symbolic modern dance. This was balanced by transitions such as going from a selection of harmonious, flowing, emotionally potent songs such as “Wayfarin’ Stranger/Traditional and Bring Us Hope” sung by the Upper School Chorus to a similarly melodious and expressive dance, “Without Sorrow there is No Joy.”

The execution of each piece was flawless, but a few were especially impressive. In “Surface Currents,” a dance involving 11 people, the performers’ coordination was impeccable. The choreography alone caused the viewer to feel as though part of a swaying current, reaching, sweeping, and spinning along with the dancers, but the additional details like the blue and aquamarine flowing shirts and the chiming music caused the dance to really come alive and sweep the audience up with it.

Versatility was on display the whole night, but perhaps the most in the Upper School Ensemble. With 5 guitars, a glockenspiel, a flute and more, the Ensemble wasn’t the most traditional combination of instruments, but Music Director Steve Kaminski ran with the group’s odd diversity rather than working around it. Their first song, “Mah Nah Mah Nah Menagerie” was a complete mashup including parts of “Ode to Joy” by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry and of course, the Muppets’ “Mah Nah Mah Nah” that will get stuck in your head for weeks if you’re not careful.

Each piece was memorable in its own way, and somehow that’s what made the show unified and unique. The show can’t be characterized by a single theme or focus, but the effort given by all of the performers was so clearly recognized that it was what made the curtain call so special; it was a truly varied group, but they were all bound together by the work and love they poured into what they had shown, and they were proud of it.

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