Crowds filled the MHS cafeteria Wednesday night for the annual Pops Concert, a night where the music department's exclusive ensembles presented a more light, entertaining repertoire, abandoning the classical music for contemporary jazz and pop standards.
The Lab Band, one of MHS' two jazz ensembles opened the performance. The group is led by associate band director Matthew Spatz and rehearses for three hours on Thursday nights. The Lab Band presented "Leap Frog," "Peg," and "Soulin.'"
Soloists in the Lab Band included saxophones Sam Curtis, Louis Danowsky, and Justin Dower; percussionist Nick Azulay; trumpet Dan Altschuler; trombone Joe Scalzo; guitar Genevieve Nelson; and bass Keegan Caulfield.
The MHS Chamber Orchestra wore a different mask on Wednesday night, as the Millburn Pops Strings. They are led by orchestral director Karen Conrad, and rehearse for three hours on Wednesday nights. They beautifully presented three tranquil and rousing hits: Sting's "Fields of Gold," Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," and Escala's "Palladio."
Members of the Millburn Chorale became two pop a cappella groups for the Pops Concert: the Millburnaires and the Millburnettes. These ensembles have been staples in the MHS music department since the 1950s. In fact, the Millburnaires are to this day known for the conception and composition of Bob Dylan's hit "Blowin' in the Wind." The 'Aires and 'Ettes rehearse with choral director Rodrigo Vega for three hours on Tuesday nights.
The Millburnaires presented Mumford & Sons' recent hit "The Cave," with soloist Anthony Joo, and Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time," which featured Benjamin Dantowitz, Charlie Ehrenfried, Mac Novich, Evan Wolf, and myself.
The Stage Band, the other jazz ensemble, closed the night's performance with four exciting jazz standards. The band is led by Mindy Scheierman, director of bands.
They presented "Rooster Parade", featuring saxophone Evan Metsky; "Giant Steps", featuring percussionist Rahul Gangan, saxophones Tyler Feldman and Evan Metsky, and guitar Nick Greenberg; and "Out of the Doghouse", featuring saxophones Tyler Feldman and Ben Rauch. They closed the night with a fantastic arrangement of Stevie Wonder's massive hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", which featured percussionist Josh Harmon, trumpet Nils Sohn, and guitar John Pikus.
The Pops Concert was a night of fantastic performances. If you missed the concert, you still are able to watch videos of the performance straight from this website, or order recordings of the concert from the MHS Music Department.
The Lab Band and Stage Band will again take the stage on May 3, for the 13th annual MHS Night of Jazz.
Meanwhile, April 9 is Brass Day at MHS (with artists-in-residence "The C Street Brass"), and on both April 17 and April 18, the honors music students will take the stage in the final two accelerated recitals of the year.