Playing up a Storm: Chaminade Flyers Dazzle the Audience in Spring Concerts

Mr. Anthony Bavota conducts the Crimson Band as they entertain an attentive audience.

MBy Jude Tochukwu Okonkwo ’17 and Oscar Matos ’18

Many members of the Chaminade student body assembled to show their families and friends their burgeoning talent on April 22 and 23.  Armed with various musical instruments and their voices, Chaminade’s musical groups displayed the musical product of the past few months of arduous yet rewarding labor.

On Friday, April 22, the Flyers Band, directed by Mr. Robert Evans, first graced the stage after an introduction by master of ceremonies Jude Tochukwu Okonkwo ’17.  They performed a myriad of compositions including “Chasing the Storm” by Billy Madison and “James Bond Suite” (four movements) arranged by Frank Ericson.  Their meticulous use of dynamics and close adherence to these classic pieces deeply moved the audience.  

Next, the Crimson Glee Club marched into position with expectant applause from the audience.  The Crimson Glee Club performed emotional pieces like “Born Free” arranged by John Brimhall, “Over the Rainbow” arranged by Andy Beck, and they concluded with “Do You Hear the People Sing” by Ed Lojeski.  Notably, their conclusive piece drew a deluge of cheers from the audience.  The piece began with several seniors singing solo, leading to a response by the larger group.  The culmination of the piece came from the harmony that brought the song to a close.

The Crimson Band, directed by Mr. Anthony Bavota, supplanted the preceding music group.  They performed music ranging from rock selections like “Carry On Wayward Son,” which was directed by junior, Anthony Zito ’17 to jazz “Tuba Tiger Rag,” featuring the tuba section, which engaged the audience in jests, to a patriotic tune, “Let Freedom Ring.”  Their musicianship and comic behavior won over the crowd.  Memorably, Daniel Leno ’17 played his tuba from a lying position at one point during the composition “Tuba Tiger Rag.”

Daniel Leno ’17 performs a spectacular tuba solo during the piece “Tuba Tiger Rag.”
Daniel Leno ’17 performs a spectacular tuba solo during the piece “Tuba Tiger Rag.”

John Papciak ’17 commented, “As a member of the band, I truly enjoyed the varied and interesting selections we played,” said John Papciak.  “I thought it was nice to see the seniors end their Chaminade career on such a high note.”

Aftera brief intermission, the master of ceremonies extended the appreciation of the Chaminade community to Bro. Karl Hornberger, S.M. ’77 for his twentieth anniversary as Band Moderator.  The string orchestra, directed by Mrs. Sally Zehnter, came in swiftly tans brought intermission to a close.

The string orchestra played their own arrangement of the 1982 hit “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners.  Next, they performed a complex and thrilling rendition of “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kriesler. Matthew Chang ’17, Michael Tsui ’18 and Alec Dembo ’18 all played magnificently on their solo violin pieces.  Finally, with the screen down and movie clips playing simultaneously, the orchestra delivered beautiful excerpts from Star Wars such as “Duel of the Fates” from the Phantom Menace, “Battle of the Heroes” from Revenge of the Sith, “Princess Leia’s Theme” from New Hope, “The Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back, and lastly, the theme from Star Wars.  The Chaminade Symphony Orchestra and members of the Gold Band delivered a quality rendition of this famous magnum opus.  The musical prowess that filled the night stunned the crowd.

On the following day, Saturday, April 23, the jazz band took the stage to prove their mettle.  They performed electric songs such as “Jazz Police,” “Buffalo Wings,” and “Tank!”  The breath-taking performance of this ensemble directed by Mr. Brian Lewis left the crowd astounded and wanting more.

Vincent Scorintino ’16 commented on the performance, saying, “The band sounded amazing together.  And, there is really something special in finishing our four years of band with perhaps, our best performance.  To see our immense efforts pay off in such a way is an experience that I know we will all cherish.”

The Gold Glee Club strolled in with an introduction by Andrew Daniel ’18, the master of ceremonies for the night.  The Gold Glee Club performed a range of heart-wrenching hymns like “He ain’t heavy, He’s my Brother” to honor the military along with classical Broadway favorite, a medley from “Les Miserables.”  The audience, however, seemed the most appreciative of the classy yet quirky performance of  “New York, New York” by the Glee Club.  The Gold Glee Club members, under the direction of Mrs. Victoriya Khokhlova, imitated the iconic kick line through a synchronic waving of top hats to the final beats of Sinatra’s masterpiece.  This performance brought the enchanted audience to their feet.

Gold Band’s saxophone section harmonizes during the concert.
Gold Band’s saxophone section harmonizes during the concert.

William Kuang ’16 commented, “While the concert was primarily a performance, to me it was a musical journey which culminated my career in the Chaminade Gold Glee Club.  It brought to light the bonds formed by this community in an environment characterized by a passion for music.  That passion was the catalyst that led to such a beautiful performance.”

Following a brief intermission, the Vocal Chamber Ensemble entered to attempt to astonish the already astounded audience.  William Devito ’16 introduced the change of tone from formal to informal with feigned forgetfulness to remove his top hat from the prior Glee Club performance.  The Vocal Chamber Ensemble directed by Mrs. Victoriya Khokhlova went on to perform “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “Turkish March,” and “Finniculi Finnicula.”  The last piece was filled with theatrics and antics that the crowd found particularly amusing.

Philip Dunne ’17 said, “I had a lot of fun performing.  The audience seemed to receive our performance well which underwent constant scrutiny in the practice room.  I found the crowd’s reactions a pleasant reward for the month’s hard work we put in for the performance.”

Lastly, the Gold Band had to meet the seemingly impossible task of closing out these two nights of bravado and technical mastery.  The band surpassed all expectations with their spectacular demonstrations of musicianship in “Earhart” and “Flight of the Bumblebee,” which featured Vincent Scorintino ’16, an all-state saxophonist.

The Chaminade Flyers shared the universal language of music on Friday and Saturday. The musicians communicated joy, sadness, foreboding and desire through their performances.  They helped open the eyes and ears of a grateful audience to the beauty and power of music.  All went home those evenings with music in their hearts.