Fall Music Concert Showcased December 12–13

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Bryan Morgan ’07 meets with members of the woodwind section on the first day of in person classes this fall. 

This year’s Fall Music Concert was shown on the Mercersburg Academy YouTube channel December 12–13, with a premiere on Saturday evening, December 12.

The concert was coordinated by Director of Music Bryan Morgan ’07, who also directs the Chorale and Concert Band. The String Ensemble is directed by Michael Cameron, and James Brinson directs director of Magalia and the Octet (the school’s two a cappella vocal groups). 

Members of the String Ensemble include  Justin An ’23, Logan Butts ’23, Kaori Graham-Myrie ’24, Jamie Hyung ’23, Corbin Kelly ’24, Greta Lawler ’23, Jooa Lee ’23, Priscilla Lee ’23, Andrew Leibowitz ’24, Davis Noone ’23, Dylan Stiffler ’24, Kawla Tembo ’23, Ethan Xin ’23, and Crystal Yuen ’24. This year’s Magalia and Octet (Mercersburg’s male and female a cappella groups) are comprised of Jordyn Beard ’21, Wren Dahbura ’21, Kaity Dowling ’23, Destiny Rodney ’22, Tyerra Rooffener ’23, Nick Barnes ’22, Francis Betkowski ’23, Matthew Tavarez ’22, Osa Iyoha ’22, and Christopher Tompkins ’23. The two groups performed together in the concert.

In accordance with safety protocols, Chorale was split into two groups—a soprano and alto group, made up of Carina Cole ’22, Kaity Dowling ’23, Abby Hann ’23, Alison Huang ’22, Langley Owen ’24, Meagan Owens ’22, Ellie Jornlin ’22, Destiny Rodney ’22, Riley Schermerhorn ’22, Camille Smith ’22, and Sloane Stouffer ’22, and a four-part mixed ensemble (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), comprised of Jordyn Beard ’21, Wren Dabura ’21, Kenna Gisriel ’24, Bella Jones ’24, Tyerra Rooffener ’23, Charlotte Stauffer ’22, Nick Barnes ’22, Bob Hollis ’24, Gabe McGuire ’24, Matthew Tavarez ’22, Griffin Eagle ’23, Osa Iyoha ’22, and Jonah Lee ’24.

In similar fashion, the Band was split into five ensembles: percussion (Francis Betkowski ’23, Frank Cantera ’23, Maddie Goodhart ’24, Nathaniel Goodhart ’24, Aidan Kirkman ’22, Jelly Nguyen ’24, Zain Qureshi ’22, and Daniel Zhong ’22), brass (Linden Armster ’23, Nathan Hanks ’24, Christian Jetter ’22, Michael Maurer ’22, and Christopher Tompkins ’23), saxophone (Alex Van Ess ’24, Shoki Nemoto ’21, and Nora Smith ’24), flute (Norah Copenhaver ’24, Felix Kreis ’24, Saskia Mentor ’21, and Isabella Van Ess ’22), and clarinet (Alex Cho ’23, Rachel Cruea ’21, George Divone ’21, Eric Liu ’22, and Stephen Rice ’21). 

Soloists in the concert include Matt Wang ’23, Jessica Luo ’21, Chuks Ugori ’23, Kenny Hong ’21, Jasmine Zhu ’22, Frances Elwood ’23, and Michelle Feng ’22. 

Ensemble pieces include 2001 by Richard Strauss, arranged by David Steinquest); Sarabanda by Arcangelo Corelli, arranged by Clair W. Johnson; March and Canzone (from “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary II”) by Henry Purcell, arranged by Greg Strohman; Jambo by Teddy Kalanda Harrison, arranged by Jacob Narverud; Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi, arranged by Chris Crockareli; Promenade (from “Pictures at an Exhibition”) by Modeste P. Moussorgsky, arranged by Frank Darmiento; Can't Help Lovin' That Man (from “Show Boat”) by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, arranged by Kirby Shaw; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by Richard E. Thurston; Shallow (from the movie “A Star is Born”) arranged by Dianne Goldrick; The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, arranged by Bill Holcombe; and The Code by Alan Lee Silva. 

“First and foremost, I wanted the kids to appreciate the blessing of being together and making music,” Morgan said. “There are some other school ensembles that are not that fortunate.”

The challenges the music students had this fall gave them more accountability, according to Morgan. 

“When you’re in a group, singing or playing with an ensemble with four other people, you’re going to have your own part and if you can’t perform it well, the whole group suffers,” Morgan said. “It may seem scary, but it’s good for building character and helps you learn to be responsible.”

Morgan said that by teaching the music differently, the ensemble directors took this opportunity to use an online program, Sight Reading Factory, which helps student musicians develop their skills to be able to read music quickly and focus on sections of music that could be tricky to master. 

“That was the silver lining—we got to focus on the individual musician,” he said. “For this year, we don't have a ton of performances, so we’re not in a mad rush to get a large repertoire down; we can take the time to appreciate what we’re learning from a tone and technical standpoint. I hope the kids can appreciate that aspect of this strange term.” 

The concert was filmed in November and edited by Joe Kelley.