There was a full house at the Winter Ensembles Concert on Sunday, January 7, in the Margolis Theater. A culmination of Milken’s performance ensemble classes, the annual concert showcased the musical talents of our students who worked hard throughout the year to prepare for the show. The ensembles did not disappoint and audiences were treated to a wonderful show featuring performances by the Kol Echad, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Combo, Chamber Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, Shep’s Sheep, and Middle School Kol Echad.
The Concert Orchestra, under the direction of David Brown, started off the evening with a rendition of “Thriller,” followed by “Summertime,” from the opera “Porgy and Bess,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “Brindisi,” from the opera “La Traviata.” The Chamber Ensembles repertoire included the film scores from “Star Wars” and Psycho and the hauntingly somber “Ashokan Farewell.”
Brown noted how he likes to include a variety of pieces for his ensembles to perform such as great works, as well as fun pieces and praised his students for their performance. “Throughout all of our ensembles there has been tremendous growth since the beginning of the year. We’ve pushed them to new heights and they have risen to the challenge,” noted Brown. He added that a highlight of the show for him was the Chamber Ensemble performance of “Ashokan Farewell” and a beautiful violin solo by Ethan Shenassa ’20.
Shep's Sheep, a barbershop quartet, which featured Max Hall ’20, Elijah Dardashty ’20, Shane Brunswick ’20, and Wolfy Hutton ’20, made their debut. The group, which formed at the end of the last school year, chose their name as a tribute to Kelly Shepard, the beloved longtime Department Chair of Performing Arts and Director of Kol Echad, who left Milken last year. They sang "Down Our Way," a barbershop classic.
It was the first Winter Ensembles Concert for Director of Kol Echad and Middle School Kol Echad Sarah Shapiro ’02. The Middle School Kol Echad performed three selections: “Ha Shalom,” “I'll be there for you” (the theme from the tv show “Friends”), and “Goodnight, Sweetheart.” The Upper School Kol Echad’s selections, “One Voice,” “Man in the Mirror,” “When Midnight Mists Are Creeping,” and “Sweet Caroline,” echoed the theme of the impact one person can have on another person, or sometimes, the world. “One Voice” featured soloists: Aviva Miller ’20, Megan Larian ’19, and Eliyah Stern ’21.
The Jazz Lab Combo and Jazz Ensembles, directed by Ken Lasaine, traced the history of jazz performing pieces from such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane. The Jazz Lab Combo performed “Equinox,” “Doxy,” and “Do It Again.” The Jazz Ensembles slate included “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Comin’ Home Baby,” Down Under,” and they wrapped up the evening with “Monk’s Dream.”
All of the ensembles delivered solid performances and it was a great evening of music and song.