Menlo News December 02, 2022

A Musical Celebration of the Season

Upper School Vocal and Instrumental students join together as “One Family” to ring in the holiday season, with the Knight Singers, One Voice, Chamber Orchestra, and Jazz Band

In a dynamic joint concert, Upper School instrumental and vocal groups welcome the winter season with a lively lineup of music that includes holiday songs, the blues, selections from the musical RENT, as well as Coldplay, Harry Styles, and the Beatles. Under the guidance of Orchestra and Jazz Band teacher Leo Kitajima Geefay and Vocal Music teacher Dr. Phillip Harris—the newest member of the Creative Arts faculty—the concert’s eclectic programming was selected almost exclusively by the students themselves.

“We wanted the students to experience what it feels like to participate in selecting the repertoire,’” says Kitajima Geefay about the evening’s program. “And this concert allows us to share with the wider community how our students have progressed over the course of the academic year. The performance is a moment in time where the students come together to celebrate and support one another. It’s a showcase for how we have helped motivate students to get better and better—not at the expense of others, but along with them—and to do it publicly to celebrate that collaborative and participatory spirit on stage. That’s what’s great about music: it’s beautiful and communal.”

“We’re starting the concert with a song called ‘Uma Familia,’ which is Portuguese for ‘one family’,” says Dr. Phillips. “We try to have one song that has a real message that sets the tone and ties everything together. That central theme is that we’re all one people. We may look different, but we all feel the same things when we’re hurt and when we’re happy. This concert will celebrate the winter season and the idea that we’re all one family.”

The Upper School Winter Instrumental and Vocal Concert is an end-of-semester culmination event for students who are excited to share interpretations of some of their favorite songs, showcase their emerging talents, and bring the spirit of the season to the Menlo community. The concert takes place at the Spieker Center for the Arts on December 8 at 7:00 pm. The event is free, no tickets are required, all are welcome!