Band & Orchestra Concert Review

Spring concert with unique twist


Sonia Lerner

The choir and orchestra prepare to play together in the MPAC.

Sonia Lerner, Staff Writer

If there’s one thing you should know about the spring band and orchestra concert, it’s that it was the most innovative, enjoyable, would-pay-to-watch school concert that I’ve ever been to. Violinist Ani Bhardwaj ‘26 said that it was “the most passion and energy [they’ve] ever seen at a school orchestra [and band] concert.”

The night began with Ursa Major, the student run orchestra group, who performed a selection of beautifully intricate pieces. Then, the Chamber Orchestra took the stage and quite literally gave me goosebumps (multiple times). Upper School orchestra and band director Brian Lukkasson began by introducing the orchestra’s themes of Brazilian music, film scores, and collaboration and community (in partnership with the choir). In terms of their performance, the orchestra did not disappoint. They played beautiful Brazilian compositions, and in one piece, violinists and violists played their instruments as if they were guitars, inspired by the piece being originally written for the guitar. The concert also featured the song “Test Drive” from How to Train Your Dragon, arranged by junior Usman Malik ‘24, who said, “I loved doing it, I love orchestra, and that’s the entire reason why I did it…it was rewarding, I wanted to do it.” Finally, they ended with “5 Hebrew Love Songs,” which they performed with A Capella, the Upper School a capella choir. Emma Hausman ‘23, who took a frontline role in teaching the A Capella choir the Hebrew lyrics, said that they’ve “been pushing to do a song in Hebrew…since [their] freshman year, so [they were] really excited that [they] got to do it, especially [during their] senior year” 

You might be thinking, “Wow, this concert sounds like it couldn’t get any better,” but you’d be mistaken; Jazz Express and Concert Band had yet to showcase their pieces. Aidan Tao ‘23, co-leader of Jazz Express, commented that “getting people to have that interest and have that passion for Jazz Express…has been the most difficult part [of the process], but also the most rewarding.” They performed an exceptional set of fusion pieces, combining rock, pop, funk, disco, and more, my personal favorite being Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.” Some of the members even fashioned sunglasses during the set, adding an elevated feeling of jazz and funk to the music. 

Finally, the Concert Band closed out the night with some more great performances. They, like Chamber Orchestra, had focused on film scores throughout the year. They played a selection of John Williams compositions, including themes from Harry Potter, Star Wars, and E.T, all while the movies were being projected to the audience. Additionally, the percussionists featured their own piece, showcasing a multitude of instruments and sounds. The band finished off with an energetic rendition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” featuring the vocals of A Capella member Felix Reidel ‘24.

As if this wasn’t enough, before “Feeling Good,” both the orchestra and band members surprised Lukkasson with flowers, cards, and kind words, thanking him for all he’s done over the years. 

Moral of the story: if you’re able to attend a Blake school music concert, do it. You won’t regret it.