Virtual Spring Concert premieres on YouTube with collaboration between the music and art departments

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The Townsend Harris Spring Concert premiered virtually on May 14 via YouTube. It included a blend of melodies from the music department alongside the art department’s interpretations of the musical works.

“When a music teacher selects repertoire, it is their responsibility to choose a rep that not only provides the material in which to teach the inner workings of music, but to also be culturally and socially responsive,” said band director and teacher Kevin Heathwood. The music chosen was at “perfect difficulty level for the students given our remote limitations that are still accessible yet still challenging enough to have it be a struggle worth overcoming. I also believe my pieces encompass a level of cultural and social responsiveness to send a message that sings beyond the notes on the page,” he also said.

“While I will admit that it was a little stressful rehearsing, recording and trying to make the show perfect, with all the work that’s been put into it, I think everything [went] just fine,” freshman Susan Yang said.

Similarly, Mr. Heathwood said, “The students always step up and shine, and that’s all that will matter in the end. So I’ll be stressed out until the performance is done… and then my brain will take back over and say ‘See? I told you it was going to be awesome.’”

The music unit also featured the visual arts unit in the concert performance. Artists drew illustrations based on how they interpreted the music performed. Mr. Heathwood said that whenever a collaboration with the entire art department is possible, “[they] are going to make it happen.” 

Visual Arts teacher Margherita Wischerth said that this had not been the first time the groups have worked together. “As the department is called the Music & Art Department, it includes both avenues of creative expression,” she said.

It was suggested that the students create artwork which was inspired by the music selections of each group performance…the concept of a spring theme was also introduced to the students,” Mrs. Wischerth said. The students were to create artwork based on their perception of spring concerning their selected piece to illustrate.

“The main thing to take away from this is that music kept on going at Townsend, and at a high level,” said Mr. Heathwood. “I hope this is the last virtual performance I ever have to put together, but I can take solace in the fact that even if it isn’t, here at Townsend, there is nothing that can make the music stop.”

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