December 11, 2022—“Sing we joyous all together…heedless of the wind and weather…” On the night of the first snow of the season, families, students, faculty and staff, alumnae, and friends of Winsor gathered in the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater, sheltered from the 28 degree weather to celebrate Winsor’s Annual Winter Concert, a musical celebration of many instruments and voices.
Head of Performing Arts Felicia Brady-Lopez introduced the concert, which began the first half of the program with several numbers from Winsor’s choirs. Choral Director Andrew Marshall led the Class III Descants in performances of three pieces, accompanied by Ms. Brady-Lopez on keyboard. A highlight was the traditional Islamic Rasheed, “Tala` al-Badru `Alaynā,” sung in Arabic and English. The modal melody from the flute, featuring soloist Sarah Finkelstein ’28 set the tonality, mood, and character of the piece, with pulsing rhythm from the conga drums, featuring Head of World Languages Valentina Páez.
Illumina, the Upper School chorus, performed four expressive choral pieces in contrasting styles, mastering sensitive dynamic expressions and crisp diction in Amy Beach’s “The Moon is Distant from the Sea” and in Stephen Paulus’ “Hallelu.” Soloist Natalie Cooper ’24 led a tuneful and elegant performance of “O Holy Night” in an arrangement by Mr. Marshall, featuring romantic arpeggios from the piano and a choral accompaniment. Transporting the audience to a different era, Illumina took on Stevie Wonder’s 1967 modern holiday classic, “Someday at Christmas,” (written by Brian Wells and Ronald Miller) featuring soulful solos by Alicia Wu ’24, Caroline Bae ’24, and Chloe Chao ’23.
Upper School Senior Small followed with the classic “Baby, Please Come Home,” featuring tight harmonies and a dynamite stage presence. The hard work of Tech Director Andres Puigbo and the stage crew could be seen as Mr. Puigbo approached the stage to collect the eight microphones from the performers and navigated transitions between each set.
The Upper School Percussion Ensemble presented “Caroled Bells,” a magical arrangement of the familiar “Carol of the Bells,” using concert bells, a marimba, two xylophones, Winsor’s new vibraphone, a bell tree, triangle, suspended cymbal, and a mark tree.
Ushering in the orchestral section of the program, the Upper School Chamber Players presented the Largo Pastorale movement from Archangelo Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto,” arranged for the group by Ms. Connor. Led by concertmaster Kelly Yin ’26, the group performed without a conductor. In a lilting 12/8 meter, the strings and the woodwinds took turns with the melody, with solos by Clara Eikeboom ’23, Charlotte Holmes ’26, Remy Kim ’25, and Anya Weerapana ’25.
The Lower School Orchestra, led by Performing Arts Faculty Julia Connor, performed Ms. Connor’s arrangement
of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 1, navigating constant shifting rhythms. Following the Lower School performance, Mr. Marshall led the Sinfonietta, a mixture of professionals from the Boston community, Winsor faculty, and Winsor students assembled for the concert, in performances of instrumental arrangements of seasonal favorites “O Hanukkah” and “Auld Lang Syne.” The Sinfonietta remained on stage to accompany the choirs and audience during the sing-along portion of the program. Mr. Marshall led the orchestra, choirs, and audience members effortlessly, offering clear cues for entrances and turning around to bring in the audience to participate.
Closing the program with a triumphant Winsor tradition, alumnae, guests, faculty and staff, and other members of the Winsor community in the audience were invited forward on the stage to sing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah with combined choirs and community orchestra. Amongst those who joined the chorus were Head of School Sarah Pelmas and long-time former choral director Lisa Taillacq.
A big “bravi” to all the Winsor student musicians, Ms. Brady-Lopez, Ms. Connor, Mr. Marshall, and Mr. Puigbo for making this evening of music possible.