Article by Aidan Galvez, ’22:
It should’ve been like all the other years. Together, the Firebird Orchestra, Chorus, Band, and Chamber Ensemble sought to provide a live audience with an unforgettable experience, but this year brought on a new challenge not experienced since the early 20th Century–a Pandemic.
Because of COVID-19, large assemblies were cancelled, leading many Kellenberg musicians to ask: Will there be a Christmas Concert this year? The short answer is yes, but with a twist. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the concert was reborn to be experienced not in auditorium seats, but rather through an internet browser. The Kellenberg Christmas Concert had gone virtual.
By the grace of modern technology, a recital can be assembled by musicians recording a video of themselves playing their parts so that the Musical Directors–Mr. Garcia, Mrs. Zider and Mr. Vegas–could stitch them together into one virtual performance.
“Well, it’s very different,” Gabriel Granados, a Violist in the Firebird Orchestra, says. “You didn’t really know what to expect from other players because you weren’t listening to them practice daily, and obviously there’s no in-person audience, so basically all of the possible stage fright someone could get just disappears. Also, honestly, it was just a lot easier to prepare for because you could mess up and redo your recording.”
The Christmas Concert began with a brief introduction made by assistant principal for student activities Bro. Roger Poletti, S.M., and a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner played by the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble, and once the rockets red glare finished bursting in air, the Firebird Orchestra hit the ground running as they played through of Do You Hear What I Hear, a performance not easily topped, and put immense pressure on the following act: the Firebird Chorus. Unsurprisingly though, they too hit it out of the ballpark with two songs–Christmas Chopsticks and O Holy Night–before letting the Firebird Band take the stage for their cover of Do You Hear What I Hear. When they were finished, the Ensemble took over once again, the strings of their violins ablaze as they ran through Dance of the Tumblers, finishing in time to let Chorus sing Christmas Lamb and Someday at Christmas. Once the final verse faded out, they ceded the stage bringing the concert to its last act of the night: the Band’s rendition of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and a Mad Russian’s Christmas.
With a sharp ending note, Bro. Roger ended the slideshow of students to deliver a goodbye message to the virtual audience before letting the audience give a standing ovation to the hard working musicians and directors who helped craft this concert into a truly memorable experience.
Hopefully, we won’t ever have to do a virtual concert again, but if we do, we know we’re ready.
Use this link to access a recording of the concert: https://youtu.be/21vZNmiRb34