As the constant Ross raining finally ceased, the annual Branson Winter Concert began, showcasing the musical talents of many students.
With performances by the chamber singers, classical performance seminar, the jazz ensemble, and other showcases, it was a stellar performance that highlighted the incredible abilities of Branson students.
The chamber singers opened up the concert, singing six songs; four in English, one in German and one in French. My personal favorite was “Rain Music,” by Laura Farnell, as it offered exciting and beautiful harmonies for the chamber singers to perform. After closing with “Hold Fast to Dreams,” the chamber singers were replaced by the classical musicians, who had a wide variety of musical arrangements.
Opening with Piano Trio in E minor, Corbin Glover, Stanley Wong and Julie Feldmen demonstrated how all of the different instruments can still sound great together.
There were many different types of pieces being played; some arrangements, like Terzetto in C, performed by Shun Graves, Sophie Liu and Nathan Yamamoto, were strictly by the students, while some, like Adrianna Nordlicht and Rachel Kim’s performance of “Ma mere l’Oye” (Mother Goose), had a combination of students and teachers playing.
Ariana Lushtak, who had sang with the chamber singers, returned to the stage for a jaw-dropping rendition of “Aprés un Rêve,” a highlight of the afternoon. The performance seminar finished Act I with a rousing performance of Concerto in B minor, featuring four violins, a cellist and a pianist.
After a quick break, the audience was treated to an entertaining bagpipe performance by Rob Rudy, who had gone the extra mile to perform his solo in a traditional kilt.
Next, Spencer Hao debuted his composition for the classic fairy tale Rapunzel, where he composed an original score to accompany the reading, while spoiling the beginning of “Avengers: Endgame” for the rare few who had yet to see it. Similarly, Caleb Liu had written a score for Brenden Milan-Howells film “Corte Listo,” which was performed live by the classical ensemble.
Finally, the largest group, the jazz ensemble, took the stage. Their opening piece, “Three Guys,” was ironic considering the ensemble was all guys, with the exception of Genesis Orellana and science teacher Maggie Molter.
The jazz ensemble closed out the concert, playing exciting and upbeat tunes, such as “Avocado,” or concert-finisher “A Horse with No Name.” If any audience members had gone to the performances after the tree lighting, they would have recognized the reemergence of the Landó rhythms, which had been debuted on Friday.
After watching this incredible display, I was reminded just how talented all the Branson performers are; from amazing vocals to gorgeous classical playing to some very sophisticated jazz, one could not help but be impressed.