The Winter Concert: The iconic tradition returns to THHS

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Red lights gradually flow into the auditorium followed by the uproar of energetic audiences. Smiles spread from one person to the next as they share the same anticipation and excitement. The spotlight finds the stage as the band and orchestra slowly come into view: the 2021 Winter Concert has finally arrived at Townsend Harris High School. 

This year, music teacher Kevin Heathwood will bring the Jazz Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and the premiere of Modern Band. Following him, music teacher Chris Lee will direct Chamber Strings, Symphonic Strings, and a piano duet. The Winter Concert will also feature a collaboration between the jazz band and Hawkapella, led by physics teacher David Stern, as well as pre-recordings from the piano class to be played with the chorus, led by Mariko Sato.

The first performance will take place on December 22nd from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in person. Audience members must be vaccinated in order to attend. It will also be live streamed for parents and students who want to watch the concert at home. On December 23rd, a mini-concert spanning across two bands will be live streamed into classrooms for the student body to enjoy. Faculty members are also welcomed to join the audience when they are free. 

The 2021 Winter Concert is highly anticipated primarily because it is the first live performance from the Music Department in roughly two years. “We are back and continuing the tradition of winter concerts, spreading some holiday spirit,” said Mr. Lee.

“It’s been a tough year and a half going on two years, and who knows what the future holds, so I hope that this is just a bright light in the darkness that we’ve been in,” Mr. Heathwood added. 

Both teachers believe that this winter concert will differ from previous years. Rather than conducting the string concert, Mr. Lee will be playing with the students. “It is the first time I’m doing that coming back to live performances,” said Mr. Lee. 

In addition, Mr. Heathwood is excited to introduce the debut of the Modern Band. “The Modern Band is a group I started last year when we were remote. It went so well, so I kept the class a thing, and it’s the first time we’re doing it in-person,” Mr. Heathwood said.

For this concert, Mr. Lee is hoping that his students will “enjoy showing off their hard work.” Similarly, Mr. Heathwood is wishing that the 2021 Winter Concert will display to the school that the Music Department is just as prestigious as the other classes at THHS. “It’s great to show the public that [the Music Department] is legitimate. We are doing great things and we’re working hard,” he said. For this concert, Mr. Heathwood is looking forward to “performing and putting [their hard work] on public display and enticing that culture within the school to get other students to want to be involved.” 

Artwork by Zerlina Yau 

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