The chorus bounced as it sang “Nyon Nyon” in its set at the All-County High School Music Concert held Saturday night in the nearly-filled auditorium at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.
Stomp, clap, stomp.
Conductor Arian Khaefi nodded his head to the beat. An additional beat was born as some choral members hit their chest with a fist and Khaefi danced along.
“It is quite a reverent piece and not fun in the slightest,” Khaefi joked prior to its performance.
Khaefi is Director of Choral Activities at Towson University and worked with the students from different county high schools for Saturday’s event.
Khaefi said before the set started that he and the students were strangers before being put together for the all-county chorus and connected through music for the concert. Khaefi is proud of the chorus, which had about 50 members, and thanked their parents and teachers who supported them in their chorus opportunities.
Khaefi did a dramatic reading of the lines of one of the pieces “Fyer Fyer” beforehand with humorous runs through the fa-la-la groupings.
Orchestra conductor Kevin George, who started his teaching career in Frederick County, pointed out that if you went to West Frederick or Ballenger Creek in the late 1980s or early 1990s, that he may have been your band director before the orchestra performed “Brandenburg Concerto, No.3.”
“It’s really fun to come back and work with this group,” he said. “I threw some hard music at them.”
George, who now works at Glenelg High School in Howard County, prefaced the second orchestra piece, “Skylife” which the orchestra played as a “kind of jazz fusion rock thing.”
“This one’s different,” he said of the piece, noting it makes use of improvisational solos.
The orchestra’s bows poked up and down above the about 25 member group’s heads in unison.
Other states recognize Maryland’s exceptional band program, said the all-county band conductor, Robert Spence, who lives in Pennsylvania.
Spence led the band through its set, finishing up with “Arabesque,” which was a favorite of David Krasauskis, whose son, Bryce, a junior at Oakdale High School, played trombone in the show.
David Krasauskis felt the whole performance was fabulous.
“Being a parent, I know all the hard work the kids put into the arts,” he said. “This all came together in the last few weeks.”
David Krasauskis said he’s glad to be in Frederick County because of the support for the program. This was the first year that Bryce, who’s played trombone since fourth grade, was in the all-county band. He feels that it was a great experience to work with so many new students and people in the about 60-member band.
“It’s not just helping me with my music skills, but also life skills,” he said.
The Deneen family feels the same about the arts.
Brunswick resident Sarita Deneen participated in band and drama when she was in school. Her daughter, Savana Cortes, goes to Brunswick Middle School. When Deneen received a notification from the district about the concert, she wanted to attend.
“I like to get her exposed to that as much as possible,” she said. “It did a lot for me growing up.”
Deneen’s sister, Marsha Deneen, and mother, Betty Deneen, were also in attendance Saturday night.
“The world would be a sad place without music,” Betty said.