East band, choir come together for wintertime showcase

by Ben Schmidt, STAFF WRITER
& Alison Standish, EDITOR
14 December 2017



The Oswego East High School band & choir performed presented their annual winter concert on Tuesday, December 5th, in the Performing Arts Center. “We get to actually know each other and we get to talk to each other and communicate with each other and look each other’s different perspectives for music because voice and instrument sure they’re similar but they’re also very very different when it comes to performing,” sophomore Zach Benbow said. Photo by Ben Schmidt


The audience waited in eager anticipation on Tuesday, December 5th, in the Performing Arts Center, as the Oswego East band and choir students tuned their instruments and warmed up their voices backstage in preparation for the winter concert. These students, whose music directors label as hardworking and passionate individuals, had practiced for this event, dedicating enormous portions of their lives towards what they say is one of life’s biggest joys. According to some of the musicians of Oswego East, music is most certainly worth the long hours of practice.

“I think that it takes dedication and love to be a musician. It’s just dedication and love, and that’ll drive you to learn the more technical things that a musician should know,” sophomore choir student Carmen Vizin-Esquivel said.

The band students taught by Kelly O’Neill as well as Chelsea Rhoades’ choir students were all included in the winter concert on Tuesday, making the concert a unique collaboration of students and performers.

“The really cool part about the concert is that it features every band and extracurricular band and every choir and extracurricular choir that we have at the school. So it’s a really neat way to showcase everyone’s talents because it allows every single person to perform,” senior band student Lauren Antoniolli said.

The audience of the band and choir concert would only have to witness the performance that occurred Tuesday to see just how much musical talent and spirit is within the different performers. Multiple students with multiple different talents in music were put on display for the two shows.

“The concert … will showcase all of our musical abilities. It will showcase the spirit we have, as you know it’s a holiday concert so it’s supposed to bring joy to the community around us, and because it’s the holiday concert we are spreading this enthusiasm to people around

us with music,” junior band student Elana Adler said the day before the performance.  

To do well at any concert or performance, there needs to be time put in beforehand. The performers know that they cannot just expect to perform well without spending time on their music.

“What makes a good musician is practice, definitely practice, practice and persistence. Because if you mess up and you give up you’ll just stay stagnant, you’re not going to go anywhere,” sophomore choir student Zach Benlow said.

The sense of hard work, practice, and persistence can be directly observed by O’Neill. She said that she sees wonderful talent and work ethic in her students and that she greatly enjoys watching them grow.

“It’s really cool because just at the highschool level, most kids you get to see from freshman year through senior year, and you see them grow as great and awesome human beings. That’s the best part,” O’Neill said. “I think if you found a huge leader in your school or someone really positive in your class, there’s a big chance that they were or are in a music class at some point.”

According to sophomore choir student Omari Morris, music is an art form that betters the world because so many people can appreciate it.

“We all hear that one song on the radio that you just dance to,” Morris added. “We all have music in our hearts, when we tap our feet, when we clap our hands, music is everywhere. The sound of your voice, that can be considered music. Music is all around us.”

The choir and band each performed many different songs. From “Santa Baby” by the jazz band to “The Darkest Midnight in December” by the acappella group, there was no shortage of different music for the audience to hear. The listeners had the opportunity to experience some traditionally classical Christmas songs such as “We Three Kings” or “I’ll be home for Christmas” along with slightly more unconventional pieces like “Hot Chocolata.” or “Holiday Mash-Up.”

“Some of them will be fast, some will be slow, some of them in major, some of them in minor, and I just like to create a program that keeps the audience engaged as well as the students engaged while they’re performing it,” Rhoades said. “There’s a lot of diversity in the program, and that is a big staple in my educational standpoint, is diversity through music. So you’ll hear a lot of different languages, and a lot of different qualities of music.”

According to senior band student Tom Shaw, the concert could certainly be considered a success.

“I think it went really well,” Shaw said. “We had great timing, because getting that amount of people to all be on the same beat is really hard. So the fact that everybody got it, that’s really impressive.”

For junior band student Kendall Missel, the concert resulted in definite personal growth and improvement.

“I thought the concert went pretty well. I feel like I improved my musical abilities, a lot of dynamics, and also my tonation,” Missel said.

The magical musical performances that appear in a musician’s career, like the band and choir concert last Tuesday night, make these students’ rigorous lifestyle enormously worthwhile, due to the joy they might experience and the passion they may feel while performing.

“For me as a performer, when I step out on stage in front of everyone I feel like I’m flying. It’s like this beautiful feeling and I’m sharing a gift to other people that they may not experience but I am and it’s that ability to hand that inner gift to other people and share it with other people that makes it feel so magical,” Vizin-Esquivel said.

O’Neill said that her students, as well as the choir students who performed at the winter concert, contributed towards the positive turnout of the performance and that the entire evening was a success.

“I️ think it went really smoothly. We have a rehearsal during the school day to help students understand when to get on and off the stage, and we had about 430 students involved that night so I️ thought it went very very smoothly,” O’Neill said. “I️ think all the bands and choirs performed well, so bravo to the kids.”



Ben Schmidt is a staff writer and Alison Standish is an editor for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL