MHS Orchestra performs for sixth annual Orchestravaganza

Arial+dancer+Heidie+Hilton+spins+in+the+air+to+classical+guitar+played+by+Anya+Wesley+at+the+sixth+annual+Orchestravaganza.+The+orchestra%27s+focus+on+performing+arts+encompassed+that+of+Hilton%27s+performance+as+she+twirled+above+a+circus+created+by+the+students+below.+Photo+by+Sophia+Comas
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MHS Orchestra performs for sixth annual Orchestravaganza

Arial dancer Heidie Hilton spins in the air to classical guitar played by Anya Wesley at the sixth annual Orchestravaganza. The orchestra's focus on performing arts encompassed that of Hilton's performance as she twirled above a circus created by the students below. Photo by Sophia Comas

Arial dancer Heidie Hilton spins in the air to classical guitar played by Anya Wesley at the sixth annual Orchestravaganza. The orchestra's focus on performing arts encompassed that of Hilton's performance as she twirled above a circus created by the students below. Photo by Sophia Comas

Arial dancer Heidie Hilton spins in the air to classical guitar played by Anya Wesley at the sixth annual Orchestravaganza. The orchestra's focus on performing arts encompassed that of Hilton's performance as she twirled above a circus created by the students below. Photo by Sophia Comas

Arial dancer Heidie Hilton spins in the air to classical guitar played by Anya Wesley at the sixth annual Orchestravaganza. The orchestra's focus on performing arts encompassed that of Hilton's performance as she twirled above a circus created by the students below. Photo by Sophia Comas

Sophia Comas, Sports Editor

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The Manhattan High Orchestras came together Wednesday and Thursday night to end the semester on a more than successful note with the commencement of the sixth annual Orchestravaganza.

The concert featured performances from the Concert, Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras along with assistance from the rest of the Art Department headed by teacher Sonda Copeland and the Robotics team.

“They did a great job and I also feel a huge amount of relief because it’s done,” Nate McClendon, director, said. “The amount of work it takes to make all of that happen is insane.”

As the orchestra practiced their instrumental performances, other aspects of the show were dependent on factors provided by outside help. Without the assistance of the various art classes who worked on projects specific to the event, the concert wouldn’t have been such a success. With an elephant costume and painted marine animal along with a robotic turtle, the group put on a show vastly different from what a normal concert looks like. They even hired aerial dancer Heidi Hilton who showed her skill by dancing above their heads entwined in silky fabric.

“I feel super excited and a lot of the excitement comes from when I look out and see people in the crowd that I don’t know —  people that don’t come to our normal orchestra concerts — that’s what gets me excited,” McClendon said. “This is for the community and trying to bring lots of people together. People that wouldn’t normally come to an orchestra concert now might come once they’ve heard what we’ve done.”

The audience was welcomed to the event by a string quartet that showered the musicians in colored light. The show then moved through the course of Act I through a series of performances, one of which featured dancers in a piece called “March of the Lions.” As the entire ensemble came to a close for a brief intermission, the audience got a taste of pure musical talent through a solo performed by junior Chris Chae who played “Stille Nacht” on his cello with other orchestra members.

“They practice super hard to be able to do that and you want to give them the chance to go ‘hey this is how hard I can practice this is what I can do this is what I’m going to do for you,’” McClendon said. “It’s just a really good feeling so I’m excited.”

Following the Act I performances, the orchestra took up a more traditional approach for their final pieces of the night. It featured solos from both junior Allen Zhang and senior Emily Keeley, violinists for Chamber Orchestra who played “Carol of the Bells/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “We Three Kings.” For Zhang’s piece, he broke a few of his bow strings from playing so hard.

“These kids are amazing, like, that’s not a normal orchestra,” McClendon said. “Allen isn’t a normal kid, neither is Emily, neither are any of these kids. They’re all incredibly talented.”

To end the performance, the orchestra was joined by seniors Elise Jackson and Jacob Wineland for the finale piece “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” The two singers made brought the event to a full circle through the overall circus theme.

“[I’m feeling] exhilaration because the kids sounded great,” McClendon said. “They got through the show pretty well.”

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