By VERNON ROBISON
The Moapa Valley High School Band and Orchestra Programs performed a holiday concert on Thursday, December 9, to the delight of a large audience of families, friends and community members. gathered at the Ron Dalley Theater. MVHS music teacher Ted Biggs conducted three different ensembles during the concert which lasted about an hour.
The Intermediate Band kicked off the night with a few festive selections, including “Jazzy Christmas” by Johnnie Vinson, an upbeat mix of Christmas classics, and Bell Carol Fantasy, an arrangement of the familiar Russian song by James Curnow. The group ended their performance with a beautiful interpretation of “Above and Beyond” by James Swearingen.
Biggs told the audience that the pandemic has had an impact on music and performing arts programs at school.
“It’s been two years since this group had any performances,” Biggs said. “For this group, that means their 8th or 9th years have kind of been lost. This left gaps in the experience and pieces missing. So we have done a lot of work to make up for this lost time.
The MVHS orchestra then took to the stage. This string ensemble began with a moving rendition of Irish folk song “Danny Boy” arranged by Harry Alshin. The group then evoked a winter scene with “A Forest Snowfall” by David Bobrowitz. They ended their performance with “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand” by Richard Meyer.
Finally, the MVHS Advanced Band performed a selection of four holiday favorites. Biggs admitted that even the Advanced Band was rusty, having not performed for the 18 months leading up to the start of the current school year.
“But we got busy pretty quickly with this school year,” he said. “In the past 4 months, we have had over 15 performances, including football matches, assemblies and more. He picked up speed quite quickly. “
The Advanced Band started off with a collection of favorites in Ed Huckeby’s “Spirit of Christmas”; then played a touching rendition of “Stille, Stille, Stille” arranged by James Curnow. Then the band mixed vocal talents with instrumentals in a haunting performance of Ronald Standridge’s “On An Old English Carol”. Finally, they sent the audience home with an enthusiastic performance of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
During the concert, Biggs also paid tribute to a group of students who had auditioned for the prestigious Southern Utah University Honor Band, an inspiring program that takes place annually in Cedar City, Utah.
“It’s a pretty rigorous audition process that attracts kids from 5 different western states who want to participate in the program,” Biggs said. “This year we had 10 students who made this set. It’s exceptional and it says a lot about the caliber of students we have here.