by Emily Miller
The WHS Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble performed musical assemblies at Westfield’s six elementary schools on Feb. 10 and 16, marking the series’ tenth anniversary.
The performances featured theatrics and musical compositions from popular movies.
According to Orchestra Director Mr. Raymond Wojcik, originally, professional musicians toured the elementary schools to demonstrate various instruments to the younger children who were considering learning to play an instrument. Wojcik suggested to Fine Arts Director Dr. Linda King that the WHS students could perform instead.
This year, the Wind Ensemble rehearsed with Band Director Mr. Chris Vitale and the orchestra with Wojcik, then came together to practice as a large group.
Senior Alix Jason said, "The elementary school tour allows us to encourage children to enter the world of music by showing them how fun it is to play an instrument and be a part of a community of musicians."
For this year’s performance, the students played the music of American composer John Williams in honor of his eightieth birthday, which included pieces from Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Star Wars, according to Wojcik.
Along with the music, the children were entertained by the performers’ comic theatrics. Wojcik said: "It’s not a dry presentation. I like to make it as fun and zany as possible…. We go for cheap theatrics, like pirates sword fighting when we did Pirates of the Caribbean. [One year] we had all the children in a conga line when we played ‘Under the Sea’ from The Little Mermaid."
Senior Jason Isbit said: "When the orchestra played the ‘Imperial March,’ Darth Vader [junior Liam Keller] suddenly emerged onto the stage and the kids went crazy. Then, the orchestra played the ‘Star Wars Theme’ with a battle on stage. In the end, Luke Skywalker [Isbit] defeated Darth Vader and as ‘Love Theme’ was played, Darth Vader searched the auditorium to find Princess Leia [senior Stephanie Tepper]."
According to Wojcik, Jedi warriors included seniors Brandon Eng and Jason Qin, equipped with light sabers.
Wojcik said he was pleased that the children were excited to discover music and the high school performers had a fun time."Whenever I ask kids what they remember of the concerts, the most common answer is the antics. Because of this, one kid was inspired to play the bassoon," said Wojcik.
Jason said, "I love the fact that the kids enjoy the concert because that’s what our goal is: inspiring them to love music."