The Excitement of the Winter Concert


Elijah Boisvert and Joey Stearns

The first class held in the music room after the first concert of the school year is always an exciting one.  Discussions about the now-finished concert buzz around the room like little pockets, moving from group to group in a quick sporadic fashion.  As the bell rings, the chatter is replaced by a low murmur, and predictions about the next concert ensue. The new music is passed out to each member of Goffstown High School’s ensembles, and everyone is eager to see the new pieces that they will perform for the winter concert. They look down expecting to see conventional holiday music, but instead, find unique and exciting pieces of music that are outside of what might normally be expected; pieces written in different world languages such as German and Latin to be sung in chorus, or arrangements with unique and interesting instrumentation to be played in orchestra and band.  A feeling of surprise and shock fills the room, and the groups, excited but perhaps anxiously at times, begin to prepare for the winter concert.

The 2019 Winter Concert was performed by the GHS Performing Arts on December 12th and December 19th, along with in-school assemblies showing an abbreviated version of the concert on the 13th and 20th.  The GHS band, orchestra, chorus, jazz band, select strings, and select chorus all performed for a packed audience at both full concerts. During the in-school assemblies, teachers were able to bring their classes down to the theater for the block to enjoy a 90 minute version of the program, with the show itself being tweaked for the allotted time.

As with most of the concerts that GHS puts on, the Winter Concert sees performers with coordinating “concert formal” attire, decorations in and around the theater, and refreshments outside in the lobby to create an upscale mood to these exciting events.  As exhilarating as the concerts are for the performers in each ensemble, these concerts are also exciting for the friends and family of the participating students, as well as people in the Goffstown community who are curious to see and hear what the GHS Performing Arts department has been preparing to showcase.

Of course, the main component of the Winter Concert and all GHS concerts for that matter, is the music.  Months before the performance, pieces are chosen for each ensemble to perform at the Winter Concert, with the goal in mind being to keep things fresh both for the students, as well as the audience watching it year to year.  As chorus director Mr. Desrochers describes, “Really every concert should have something that is a crowd pleaser, but a lot of times students don’t enjoy singing the crowd pleasers as much…so it’s trying to find that balance of where everybody’s skill is and how we can push them to the next level, but would also be fun for them to sing.”

From year to year, the more traditional holiday programming is intermingled with traditional or classical music to create a diverse listening and performing experience for the audience and ensembles respectively.  This year for the GHS chorus, this year’s pieces were Psallite, Still Still Still, and Personent Hodie. As Molly Gregorio, a singer in chorus noticed, “Last year we were more of the Christmas spirit, where with this year, we were more on the classical side.”  Because chorus performed music closer to classical for this year, other ensembles carried the holiday feeling of the 2019 Winter Concert, like the GHS band’s rendition of A Christmas Fugue.

Behind each Winter Concert, and the music that is created, are the students performing.  The constant flow of students coming in and out of each ensemble as they move in and out of high school provides a constantly changing sound.  This constantly evolving sound along with the different programming from year to year makes each Winter Concert feel unique. As the Winter Concert is the second concert of each school year, new students to the program are just beginning to get into the experience of performing at Goffstown High School, and the expectations that are attached to that responsibility.  Sam Conley, a junior who participates in the GHS chorus described how, “In your first few times performing, it can be a little nerve wracking, but after a couple concerts you become a master! It’s always nice to get the audience’s reactions to pieces you’ve been preparing for a long time.”

Overall, the experience of performing in, and viewing the 2019 GHS Winter Concert was exciting and heartwarming to see and hear.  The concerts were a major success for the GHS Performing Arts department, and preparations have already been started for the next concert in the spring.  As for the Winter Concert, the concerts were really based around the music played, and as Scarlette Vermette, senior at GHS and a member of the chorus as well as the select vocal ensemble put it, “It was fun music that put off a happy vibe…”