NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The sounds of the season will ring out with the voices and musicianship of hundreds of New Rochelle High School students when the annual WinterFest concerts return to the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium next week.
The songs and musical pieces celebrating the holidays, the season and just pure fun span two nights.
On Wednesday, musicians take the stage with the Winterfest Instrumental Concert. The WinterFest Choral Concert follows on Thursday. Both begin at 7 p.m. The Whitney Auditorium is near the high school’s main entrance at 265 Clove Road.
The singers and musicians have been practicing for the performances. Wednesday’s concert will feature band and orchestra students playing a variety of pieces.
“I wanted the students to be challenged, but I also wanted the music to be really fun so that they would enjoy learning the repertoire and demonstrate that to the audience during the concert,” said Orchestra Director Suzanne Morello. She has been preparing the students with Band Director Mark Cooper.
The singers have been training with Choral Director Jeremy Barbaro, who began just this year, and with David Jutt, Choral Co-Director and accompanist.
“There’s definitely a broad range of songs and a fresh new feel to the music,” said junior Kate Lichtman, a soprano one, who has a solo in Variations on Jingle Bells in the choral concert.
Barbaro has been training the students with the McClosky Technique, which incorporates body alignment, facial exercises, muscle relaxation practices and more to help free the voice. Lichtman said she feels more confident preparing for her solo because of the new training. Sophomore Angelina Hurst said working with the techniques has changed her range.
“I can reach higher notes,” she said. “I’m a soprano one now. I was a soprano two.”
It is tradition for the choral concert to finish with Chorale alumni joining the singers on stage in performing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
Barbaro assured the students that all will go well if they apply themselves one hundred percent.
“Bring your A-game, give it your focus,” he said, “and it will come together nicely.”