Seabury Hall Kicks Off its Performing Arts Event Schedule for 2021-2022 with the Fall Concert

     “I don’t think I’ve seen this many people in here in 18 months!” This sentiment echoes profoundly as the first concert since early 2020 kicks off. Although it was Mr. Della Croce’s first year as the Seabury Hall band director, it was immediately apparent that he did a fantastic job preparing his students as the Middle School D Block Band opened confidently with “Eat, Play, Sleep (Repeat).” They began by playing on drums but quickly moved onto using mallet-based instruments for their next song, “Fur Elise” or “For Elizabeth.” The D block band closed by playing “Stand By Me,” a song not originally meant for percussion but adapted due to COVID. These students did a wonderful job and were met by a strong reaction from the audience not a minute into the song, applauding them for all their hard work. For a group of only eleven students, it was incredible to see how much they had accomplished having only been able to use percussion based instruments.

[Courtesy of Bryan Berkowtiz]

     The next performance was the H Block Middle School Band as they opened with “Pails in Comparison,” a song originally written for buckets but performed on a variety of drums. As with every department store in Mid-October, they then followed this by playing Christmas Music through the classical “March of the Toy Soldiers” to give everyone a preview of the band’s performances of the upcoming Hall-o-ween Drive Through and the Hall-iday Drive Through. Their next song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” really hit home the effects these past two years have had on not only the band department but also on the entire school as we readjusted to life post-outbreak. The students did a fantastic job conveying the song’s message on both ukuleles and mallet based instruments and really exemplified how the joy of performing can transform a room.

     The Seabury Hall Upper School Band filed onto the stage after them to the announcement of a bass guitar malfunction, but no matter, the show had to go on! Mr. Della Croce spoke briefly about the difference between math and music classrooms and said that he found it “inspiring how students uplifted each other. There are no newbies or veterans in this classroom.” The band then proved this very statement by seamlessly playing “Everybody Dance Now” to the excited delight of the audience. The band then introduced the tubulum, created by Mr. Levien’s engineering class, and used it to play “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” The instrument added a level of eerie to an already haunting but recognizable piece. Students closed by displaying their talent through “Danielle’s Cha Cha Cha,” played on the drums, the violin, the piano, and a variety of mallet based instruments. Then it was on to intermission!

     After intermission, the Upper School and Middle School choirs sung “Modimo,” a moving tune mixing the students’ strengths. The Middle School chorus then filed off as Mrs. Schad introduced the Seabury Hall Upper School Chorus and told the audience of a change in program that led to “I’ll Be Seeing You,” an atmospheric piece from Eddie Heywood. Although this song was acknowledged to be more difficult than any other piece they were supposed to have, the Chorus performed the number beautifully and received a robust round of applause for it as they prepared for their next song, “Hope Lingers On.” The entirety of the Seabury Hall Chorus performed this, Upper School and Middle School students joining in order to convey this powerful message. The Upper School students then exited the stage to make way for the Middle School chorus performing “Walk Through Life” accompanied by Bobby and Cassie Goldyn on piano. They followed with a gorgeous rendition of “Al Shlosha D’Varim” before switching quickly to playing “Bang on the Drum All Day” and dancing as they sang to close an already fantastic performance.

[Courtesy of Bryan Berkowitz]

     As the Middle School Chorus filed off, our very own Ukulele Ensemble filed on, preparing for a wonderful set. Kumu Kamalei led both the Upper School and Middle School ensembles as they opened with “Surf” by the Kao Crater Boys. As the song rang out over the audience, it was incredible to hear how coordinated each player was with everyone else in the ensemble as a single unified tune rang out. They followed this with “I’m Yours,” by Jason Mraz then “Wipeout” by the Safaris. Every student did amazing with the seemingly complex nature of this song and the student singers who accompanied each song were especially notable for the wonderful performances they gave. 

     For the final section of the night, the Upper School chorus lurked on stage as they opened by dancing energetically to “Little Shop of Horrors.” Each song in this set was more extravagant than the last as for their final performance they quickly changed into large, fluffy feather boas and sparkling crowns to sing the quintessential Abba song “Dancing Queen” completely a cappella! The choreography accompanied by the strong Upper School voices created some of the statement pieces of the night just as the concert closed.

[Courtesy of Bryan Berkowitz]

     The performance came to an end with “Hawaii Aloha.” The entire audience was on their feet as they sang with Kumu Kamalei and the chorus students accompanied by the ukulele ensemble and the band students. As the concert closed for the night, it was finally beginning to feel like the first step back to that pre-pandemic ‘normal.’