Band concert fills auditorium with holiday spirit


Music department chair William Riddle conducts the Cadet Band.

On Dec. 1, the York band filled up the festively decorated auditorium to perform their annual holiday concert. All three of York’s band ensembles performed pieces that they spent the entire semester perfecting, finally showcasing their hard work to a packed house full of friends and family.

A Santa hat sits among a group of Symphonic Band instruments.
Santa hats sit among the band instruments, the holiday theme seeping into the music department.

Cadet Band began the concert with a performance of “Circus Days” and concluded with a lively rendition of holiday favorite “Feliz Navidad,” directed by music department chair William Riddle. All pieces were introduced by senior DJ Cooke who entertained audiences throughout the night with his candid moments at the podium.

“DJ’s narration performance was iconic,” said sophomore Symphonic Band member Erin Lee. “Not only did he inform the crowd, but he also created a lighthearted spirit of laughter. Nice job, DJ.”

The next ensemble, Concert Band, played three songs, featuring “A Festive Christmas” by Kenny Bierschenk. The medley of popular holiday tunes fit perfectly with the lights and poinsettias decorating the stage, and the audience was thrilled to hear favorite carols such as “The First Noel” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Junior Corey Elliott performs in the surprise percussion number.
Junior Corey Elliott performs in the surprise percussion number, “Metric Lips.”

“It was a very festive concert, and I appreciate hearing music like “A Festive Christmas”; it really gets me into the spirit of things,” said audience member Isabella Nicoli, sophomore. “It’s really cool to see what the other music departments are doing throughout York.” 

The York percussion ensemble surprised the audience with a number not listed in the program titled “Metric Lips,” a piece from the 1980s.  This followed the Concert Band Percussion Ensemble’s piece “Centrifugal” that had been previously featured at the Advanced Dance concert. The surprise performance consisted of Symphonic Band percussionists Matt Shiley (senior), Corey Elliott (junior), Eric Roeschlein (senior), and Thomas Flock (junior). The performance was set in front of the stage, and York students in the front row were thrilled to be in the center of the action, boxed in by the xylophones, vibes, and marimbas. 

First chair Symphonic Band clarinet performs his solo in Holtz.
First chair Symphonic Band clarinet Jack Gornick (senior) was featured as a soloist in Symphonic Band’s performance of Holst.

“It was quite a life changing experience, because I love percussion,” said senior Hanna Kikos, who was among those in the front. “It was amazing being so close in that moment and seeing my friends who are so talented.”

The Symphonic band performed “Second Suite in F for Military Band,” a piece with four movements written by Gustav Holst. The piece featured soloists Jack Gornick (senior), Samuel Griffin (junior), Tessa Vermeulen (junior), Amy Choi (senior), and Emmett O’Brien (senior).

“The Holst is, in my opinion, one of the best pieces ever written for band, especially for the euphonium,” said euphonium soloist Sam Griffin, junior. “It is incredibly difficult, but also very fun to play; it took a lot of work, but we played it well.”

Along with Holst the band also performed “Irish Tune County Derry” and closed the night with the much awaited song of the evening, “Sleigh Ride.” An annual tradition at the concert, musicians donned their Santa hats to play the beloved holiday song for an eager audience.

Senior Amy Choi and __ wear their Santa hats as they conclude their final song of the night, audience favorite "Sleigh Ride."
Tessa Vermeulen (senior), Amy Choi (senior), Siena Olson (sophomore), and Brian Strauch (senior) wear their Santa hats as they conclude their final song of the night, audience favorite “Sleigh Ride.”

“It’s my favorite part of the concert because it’s one of the best holiday songs, and you get to be a part of the music,” said junior Olivia Braun. “You get to hear all of the different parts come together and it’s something that we all look forward to. And it’s also fun because we know the audience looks forward to it too.”

The packed audience was thrilled to once again hear Sleigh Ride and all of the other songs the bands had worked on to put together, concluding yet another successful concert to celebrate their hard work.