With a diverse mixture of parents, siblings, and friends in the pews, the Cochran Chapel echoed with thundering applause as the audience gave a standing ovation at the end of the first Academy Orchestra and Band Concert of the year. The conductors and performers stood up with proud smiles as the audience members cheered.
Organized by conductors Christina Landolt, Elizabeth Aureden, Peter Cirelli, and Vincent Monaco, the Chamber and Amadeus Orchestras, the Tuesday and Thursday bands, and the Symphony Orchestra performed a variety of pieces from different time periods. Aureden, conductor of the Amadeus Orchestra, explained that her favorite piece of the concert was “Mimosa Shower” by Yukiko Nishimura.
In an email to The Phillipian, Aureden wrote, “I’m always on the lookout for newly composed music, especially music from female composers. It’s a lyrical piece with lush and unexpected harmonies. It was also a great way to begin our year working together as an ensemble. It was a beautiful first concert, and we’ll perform it one more time [during] our December concert.”
Unlike most performances throughout the year, since many families were part of the audience, many performers were excited to show their families their involvement with the music community at Andover for the first time.
“What I really enjoyed about performing was being able to show my parents how much the music programs here at PA differed from the music program at my old school, where we would have to rehearse a piece multiple times in order to get it to the same level as our [current] symphony and band… Our conductors Mr. Monaco and Ms. Landolt are both great,” said performer Matthew Wang ’26.
Despite the successful performance, the rehearsals for the concert did not come without their challenges. According to Landolt, conductor of the Chamber and Symphony Orchestra, choosing what pieces to perform was challenging due to the limited preparation time.
“Our first couple of music choices presented several challenges… Several pieces by living composers simply could not be acquired in time for rehearsals, but I was happy to still be able to present a different living composer with John Williams’ ‘Harry Potter Symphonic Suite,’” said Landolt.
According to oboist Xander Timmons ’26, other challenges included being in sync with other instruments due to the great size of the orchestra and bands.
“I would say the most challenging part was harmonizing and being in sync with the other players…. We found time just before or after to hear each other’s sound to try and blend into each other’s sound,” said Timmons.
Regardless of the challenges, Landolt expressed her satisfaction with the performance, given the limited amount of rehearsals and the difficulty of working with large ensembles. She hoped that through this concert, each ensemble had an opportunity to showcase its strengths and push themselves technically going into the rest of the year.
“I was so pleased with how the performance turned out! It’s incredibly difficult to put on a concert with the four rehearsals we had with each ensemble, especially with so many Covid-related absences still creating holes in the ensembles. Really, the students delivered an impressive performance considering all that,” said Landolt.