Winter Concerts Make a Comeback — Middle School

With the stage lit up blue and snowflakes hanging from its ceiling, the winter musical concerts at Gilman made their comeback in December 2021.

The Middle School started things off on Thursday, December 2. First came the delicate, delightful sounds of students playing hand chimes and handbells led by Handbell Choir Director Cheryl Nkeba.

Next, the audience experienced the joyous range of voices of the — briefly maskless for the first time in nearly two years — Middlemen. The bow-tied boys, led by Middlemen Director Liz Sesler-Beckman, sang about Hanukkah candles shining through the night, but it was the light of their smiles that shone on the stage. Adding to the vocals, their rendition of “White Winter Hymnal” included a hand-clapping, finger-snapping, legs-tapping sequence.

Soloist and Head of Middle School Armond Lawson entered from the back of the auditorium with a pom-pom-topped, festive winter hat to lead the Middle School Faculty Singers group in an ironically cheerful version “Blue Christmas.”

Ariel Dechosa conducted the String Ensemble, whose performance of “Auld Lang Syne” could have carried the room right into the new year.

The “small but mighty” — according to Director of Bands Peter Lander — Sixth Grade Concert Band did not disappoint during their inaugural performance, beginning with “Joe Avery Blues,” which included several trumpet solos and one trumbone solo.

The Seventh and Eighth Grade Concert Band played a variety of pieces, including “We Got the Fire,” a song they also played at the pep rally in October. Mr. Lander took an opportunity to express gratitude for the boys who experienced Band via Zoom last year and acknowledged that it was difficult to learn to be a cohesive musical group in the online environment.

Mr. Lander shared with the audience that because of the group’s small size, the Jazz Ensemble has been learning a more improvisational style. Their collective and solo performances sounded skilled, steady, and soulful.

In the spirit of winter holidays, there was a Hanukkah reading by sixth grader Ryan L., a Kwanzaa reading by seventh grader Mustafa M., and a Christmas reading by eighth grader Rohan V.

“You can see it when they’re on stage, they love music,” Lawson said of all the music teachers.

Watch the Performances

If you missed it, you can watch the Middle School first and second concert performances.

View the Program

To see a list of the compositions and performers, you can download the concert program.