JHS Holiday Concert to set the tone for the season

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The “Cherry Hill Orchestra” is sounding better and better with each passing rehearsal.

Johnston High School’s national award-winning Music Department is preparing for what promises to be one of its most popular and best Holiday Concerts ever.

The doors to JHS’ auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday evening, December 13, for people to choose their seats for prolific performances by the Panthers band – the super sounding Cherry Hill Orchestra led by Music Department Chairman Ronald Lamoureux – and the Matt Gingras-directed chorus, choir, piano class and school’s student led a Capella group.

Next Thursday evening’s Holiday Concert will feature two parts – with the JHS band opening the night at 7 o’clock then closing out the performance following many holiday songs and sounds from the school’s chorus and choir.

There will be many intriguing firsts during this year’s Holiday Concert, one being what Lamoureux said “should be a cool piece,” “I Saw Three Ships” arranged by Larry Kerchner.

“We have actually borrowed an antique ship’s bell,” Lamoureux said “That will sound at the beginning of the tune by Oliver Littlefield. It should be a great piece.”

The orchestra’s percussion ensemble has been preparing “On the Spectrum” by Nathan Daughtrey and that will include a gong struck by Joseph Johnson. Lamoureux also announced that the percussion group would make its first trip to Rhode Island’s Perscussive Arts Society Festival hosted by URI ad held in early 2019.

“In the Bleak Midwinter”, which was arranged by Robert W. Smith, will be another special piece and as Lamoureux explained “this is a traditional hymn by Gustov Holst that was penned after the turn of the last century. Smith uses the melody in a majestic setting that moves form the hymn to brilliant brand fanfares and counter melodies.”

Yet another exciting moment during the Holiday Concert will be provided by Gingras’ piano class – which Lamoureux announced “will use percussion instruments to present “Carol of the Bells”.

The band and orchestra’s finale will be the timeless classic “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson.

The JHS chorus will open the program and will revisit a classic “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes arranger Pentatonic. This will be followed by “River in Judea” and the song will feature two student soloists Nick Gallon and Abigail Salas.

“The chorus will also be accompanied by drums, piano and our own Ian Quinten-Banno on bass,” Gingras also said while previewing his chorus’ concert presentations. “We’ll also have four student soloists – soprano Isabella Parrillo, also Hope Ferrenti, tenor Keba Gaye and bass Quinten-Banno.”

Gingras said unique Select Choir will present its closing piece “Joy” arranged by Maddux and will feature soloists Salma Hedili and Thomas C. Dyer IV.

All of which points to yet another impressive presentation by JHS Music Department whose students members – and directors – continue to receive national recognition and rank among the best high school musicians in all of Rhode Island.

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