Final Performances Cap off Semester in Arts

The Nov. 28 choir concert, “The Poet Sings,” featured songs, poetry, four choirs, two student a capella groups, and an emergency pianist change.

The concert also featured six languages: German, English, Latin, Malaysian, Spanish, and Lakota. In order to prepare for the lullaby, Chaz Wagner, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe “shared how to teach and perform the traditional melodies,” according to the
concert program. Dr. Thomas Wyatt “[facilitated] conversation with Dakota artists, and Rueben Kitto Stately of the Red Lake Nation and the Santee Sioux Nation “joined us in class to share music, stories, and perspectives in engaging with Native music.”

The lullaby, Chanté Wasté Hokšila will be performed once again by the A Capella choir and the Chamber Orchestra at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Midwinter Convention on Feb. 17, “the equivalent of making it to state as a music ensemble,” according to the program. From poems such as “Stars” by Sara Teasdale to songs from movies such as “Go the Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules” to “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child, the concert featured incredible art.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, the Improvisation and Acting class taught by theater teacher Taous Khazem took their semester final — a performance in the Black Box Theater. The performance itself was made up of improv games and selected scenes from two different plays, Qui Nguyen’s play “She Kills Monsters” and “Suspicious Minds” from “A Trip to the Moon” by Tracy Wells.

Saleya Scott ‘25 participated in the final. “My improv
game was called freeze, where people would do random stuff, have a scene ready and someone would say ‘freeze’ walk over, touch the person they want out, replace that person and they do a whole other scene they’ve provided,” explained Scott.

Scott also reflected that her biggest take away from this class was the importance of confidence. “Parker [McKeown ‘27] says this [saying] every day in class which is ‘confidence is key’ and it really is true. You have to have a certain level of confidence to actually do improv. Sometimes it is embarrassing especially when someone gives you a specific scene, like pretend you two are love birds. It really is a confidence thing,” she said.

The Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Winds winter concert on Nov. 29 featured four student groups: Jazz Express, a cello ensemble, and two Ursa Major performances, along with main orchestra and
band ensembles. Notably, the orchestra performed a strings premiere of “Monarch Migration,” and the musicians worked with the composer in preparation.
“Being able to work with a living piece of music is really fun because there’s edits and changes happening in the process,” Orchestra and Band Director Brian Lukkasson said. “I think it’s a really great experience for students to work with living composers and different voices.”

Layla Chakhvashvili ‘26, one of the Ursa Major leaders, expressed how the student-led groups worked without the influence of the director. “It’s really interesting experience not having Mr. Lukkasson there all the time… I think it was interesting to see how the large student perspective can help shape [a piece] differently,” Chakhvashvili said.

The band and orchestra are looking forward to the music tour in Kansas City over MLK weekend, and the Chamber Orchestra will perform with the Upper School A Capella choir at the Minnesota Music Educators Association concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Feb. 17.

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