Holiday Wishes: Music Department Holds Annual Holiday Concert

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Ainsley Kling

The annual Holiday Concert commences as conductor and Music Department Head Rufus Jones bows to the audience.

Ainsley Kling, Opinion Editor

The stage’s bright lights shone on the ensembles. Silence: the tension building as the conductor lifted his arm. Then music, and the sounds of the season poured out of the instruments. 

Last Tuesday, the Music Department held its annual holiday concert at the New World Center.  This was the school’s first music concert in person since 2019 due to the pandemic, and the first at the new Miami Beach venue.  

The concert included performances by the vocal, string, wind, and jazz ensembles. There was also a special performance by renowned jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. 

The annual holiday concert location changed from the University of Miami’s Gusman Hall to the New World Center. The move from Gusman Hall to Miami Beach’s New World Center was necessitated by the maximum capacity of Gusman Hall, which is 300 people due to COVID limitations, compared to the 756 capacity of the New World Center. Each ensemble performed the pieces students had been working on since the beginning of the school year.

The first in-person concert since the pandemic was well attended, with over 450 tickets issued despite the venue change.

 “This is how music should be presented. This is how we should be able to work together,” said Music Department Head Rufus Jones. “There is nothing like performing for an audience, which is something we had not been able to do in a while.”

Students also shared the joy of being able to perform in person again.

“It was definitely good coming back to a live holiday concert, considering it’s been two years since we have had our last one live,” said senior Sebastian Fernandez, who performed in both the vocal and string ensemble. 

The students first began learning the music in August at the beginning of the school year, including two songs composed by students within the Music Department. Junior Victor Giraldez composed an arrangement of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”, and senior Jason Fieler an arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Gordon’s special performance included conducting the jazz band in a composition he composed and solos with the soprano and tenor trombone.