Updated: Mar 23
JASON GARCES, Editor-in-Chief
Being nationally recognized among the best communities for music education, every single year, NBTHS hosts a Winter Concert here at the auditorium. NBTHS does this yearly to show their true passion for music, and for the students to grow and share their passion for music. NBTHS works hard every year to achieve the goal of making this concert happen. They couldn't have done it without the help of the Music Faculty, Board of Education, District Administration, and High School Administration. This is a great way for NBTHS to show their Holiday Spirit.
All of the music played in the winter concert is played by either the Jazz Band (Director: Mr. Stephen Komar), Winter Percussion (Director: Mr. Paul Bongiovi), Symphonic Orchestra (Directors: Mr. Ford and Mr. Smith), Honors Choir/Vocal Technique (Director: Mr. Brett Gray), and Concert choir (Director: Mr. Brett Gray).
The winter concert featured music that is really wonderful to listen to and it just opens your heart to winter.
The Winter Concert featured the following music and its descriptions made by staff:
"You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" - A. Hague
Composed for 1966 special How The Grinch Stole Christmas, "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is characterized by its sinister character helped by the booming voice of singer Thurl Ravenscroft. While he might not be a household name, Mr. Ravenscroft's voice can be attributed to various voice-overs for several Disney films, Disneyland attractions, and Tony the Tiger of Frosted Flakes. Lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss himself and music was composed by Albert Hauge.
"All I Want For Christmas Is You" - M. Carey
One of the quintessential songs of the holiday season, "All I Want For Christmas Is You," was written by Mariah Carey and released in November 1994. Each year this song continues to top the charts around the holiday season. For the concert, Celeste McKenzie was featured as our Mariah.
"Hot Chocolate" - A. Silvestri/G. Ballard
The Polar Express was released in November 2004 and since then has become a new classic of the Christmas season. Originally written by author Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express is a story of a young boy who is skeptical of Santa Claus. He leaves home to ride the Polar Express destined for the North Pole to discover whether the stories of Santa are true or not. "Hot Chocolate" is one of the hit songs from the movie composed by film composer Alan Silvestri and featuring the vocals of Tom Hanks. This song continues to be a staple of the North Brunswick Jazz Band holiday program since its first performance several years ago.
"Christmas Time Is Here" - V. Guaraldi
A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965 and continues to be a time-honored classic. Along with all of the tracks from A Charlie Brown Christmas, "Christmas Time Is Here" is one of the many songs from the special that continue to be a part of the holiday music canon. This also happens to be the only slow, wavering ballad on the entire album. While most holiday music is bright lights, flashy, and upbeat, the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas gives us the same nostalgic feelings of the holidays while remaining dynamically muted and subdued. While polar opposites in style from "Hot Chocolate," "Christmas Time Is Here" continues to be one of the pillars of the holiday season for the NBTHS Jazz Band.
"Betelehemu" - arr. B. Brooks
Based on the Yoruban Folk text sharing the same name, "Betelehemu" is a powerful and intriguing piece celebrating the excitement, and sometimes apprehension that comes with the end of each year. The piece begins with a dark, almost menacing chant by Tenors and Basses, who are then joined by an almost angelic-like melody from the sopranos and altos. Just as these contrasting lines meet, they are interrupted by a thunderous intro from the percussion. What follows is a rush of rhythm, harmony, and celebration of change as we enter the Winter season.
"White Christmas" - R. Ringwald
This classic take on a holiday staple should leave all listening to reminisce on their favorite holiday memories. each voice part takes its own delicate turn with the well-known melody, while rich harmony underneath creates a warm, comforting bed of sound. complimenting all of this is the simple bell like quality of the piano accompaniment which perfectly rounds out this holiday concert must.
"Ubi Caritas" - O. Gjeilo
"Ubi Caritas" is one of the most commonly arranged verses of Catholic mass text, having hundreds of different coral arrangements being written since the start of music in the Catholic church. While the text of this piece is sacred in nature, this song was selected for this program because of the imagery it presents. This hauntingly beautiful song will transport you to a scene of wintery bliss. The beginning of the piece should bring up images of a twilight snowscape; cold, dark, and moonlit. as the piece grows, the scene will shift to that of the brink of dawn which the growing sense that morning is quickly approaching. As the song comes to its gentle end listeners pay attention to the last chord and the arrival of the rising sun. This song is the perfect example that music does not always need words to paint a picture
"Mary Did You Know" - M. Lowry & B. Greene/arr. R. Emerson
This arrangement was originally made famous by the globally renowned group The Pentatonix in their first Christmas album That's Christmas to Me from 2014. The audience enjoys the tight harmonics as all four voice parts delicately pass the haunting melody back and forth while the undertones of a string section can be heard. The piece comes to a dramatic climax where the tenor section leads the choir in a rush of sound. Well, although the song may start slow and simple, listeners will soon find there's more to this song than the name suggests.
"Wintertide" - R. D. Standridge
Randall D. Standridge has rapidly emerged as one of the most popular new composers for young band and orchestra in recent memory, and NBTHS is excited to feature the premiere of their own full orchestra version of his piece, "Wintertide," originally written for the concert band. This festive work has many of the familiar trimmings of a classic winter pops piece, including “running staccato eighth notes, heartwarming and joyous melodies, dramatic scoring, and sleigh bells and wood blocks.” The musical material, however, is entirely original, evoking images of snowball fights, sleigh rides, and other winter scenes. Many thanks to NBTHS’s own Mr. Ford for his fantastic orchestral scoring, which is featured on much of NBTHS’s repertoire at the event
"Holiday Favorites: A Christmas Medley" - arr. P. Lavender & R. Emerson
"Holiday favorites: A Christmas Medley" is your opportunity to sing along to some of the biggest holiday hits of all time. Paul Lavender and Roger Emerson’s arrangement features five (classic off the billboard) time holiday 100: "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" (Dean Martin at #9), "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Gene Autry at #12), "Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms at #3), "Silver Bells" (Andy Williams at #90), and "Frosty the Snowman" (Jimmy Durante at #46) all sung by the choir
"Believe" from The Polar Express - A. Silvestri & G. Ballard/arr. M. Hayes
Alan Silvestri is one of the most prolific and popular film score composers of our time. His score to the 2004 film The Polar Express was critically acclaimed, and its central musical theme is the pop ballad, "Believe," co-written by Glen Ballard. The radio version, recorded by Josh Groban, went on to win a Grammy and a golden globe. It has become a holiday mainstay, being featured as recently as 2020 in The High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special.
"Hallelujah Chorus" - G. F. Handel/arr. R. Frost
Handel’s oratorio, Messiah, premiered in Dublin in 1742. Only a modest success upon its initial performance, it has become one of the most popular and recognizable choral works in history. though many of its solos and choruses are well known to classical music audiences, its "Hallelujah Chorus' is by far the most famous and popular culture. Often associated with the holiday season, the chorus actually occurs during the Easter portion of the Messiah as a whole. December performances of the oratorio will often only feature the Christmas section of the work, with the "Hallelujah" tacked on at the end as a crowd-favorite finale
"Old Scottish Melody (Auld Lang Syne)" - arr. Charles Wiley
“Old Scottish Melody,” "Auld Lang Syne," in Scottish dialect literally translates to “old long since,” or “days gone by.” While Robert Burns was the first to write down the melody and text, he transcribed it after hearing an old man singing in a pub, and added several lyrics of his own. This arrangement was written for Dr. John Gray and his wife, Mary, and was first performed by the Lamar University symphonic band at a farewell concert for Dr. Gray upon his retirement as president of Lamar University in December 1976.
*Corrected February 3, 2023