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“Halloween Spooktacular” Set for Hillcrest High Stage

Sep 29, 2016 05:15PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Hillcrest High School concert band, under the direction of Kristi Pehrson, will be one of the groups performing at this year’s “Halloween Spooktacular,” a free concert at 7 p.m., Oct. 12 in the school auditorium. (Julie Slama/My City Journals)

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


It can be fun and spooky at the same time as Hillcrest High School student musicians will take the stage in its “Halloween Spooktacular.”

Hillcrest High’s instrumental program welcomes the community to its free 7 p.m., Oct. 12 concert that will feature the school’s bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles, said band director Kristi Pehrson.  It will be held in the school auditorium, 7350 South 900 East in Midvale.

“It will be a fun, family concert filled with Halloween music for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

Amongst those featured will be the 17-member auditioned jazz band, who have three to eight years of music experience; 35-member auditioned symphonic band, who have three to eight years of music experience; the 45-member non-audition concert band consisting mostly of musicians with one to four years of experience; the 20-member audition percussion ensemble who are the “coolest kids on the planet as they are a very unique group who learns music so quickly and supports all the performing arts at the school,” Pehrson said.

Also performing will be the 32-member auditioned chamber orchestra with musicians having five to 10 years of experience and the non-auditioned 40-member string orchestra with members having studied one to five years of music.  The orchestras are under the direction of RaNae Dalgleish.

The instrumental music program also includes beginning percussion and beginning guitar.

Throughout the year, student instrumentalists will have several opportunities to perform, Pehrson said.  

There will be some of the top musicians in the pit orchestra of “Mary Poppins;” the musical will take place Thursday, Nov. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 19 and again, Monday, Nov. 21.  

Jazz band students will begin a new community outreach program beginning Tuesday, Oct. 4 as they travel to Layton to perform big band music for a senior center’s swing night.  

In addition to having extra performances at night, the jazz band meets daily before school at 6:30 a.m., she said.

“It’s our most active group where students love music — they have to if they’re willing to get up that early to play.  They’ve learned music on their own this summer and prepared for this outreach program.  We’re wanting to perform at city, community and church groups as well as other events throughout the year as a way to give to our community,” Pehrson said.

Student musicians already have taken to the bleachers at football games playing in the pep band to rally on the team and boost school spirit.  They will play for the school’s varsity basketball teams as well.

Hillcrest’s orchestras will perform with Midvale Middle School orchestras in a combined holiday concert at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Hillcrest auditorium.  Similarly, the Hillcrest bands will play a joint concert with the middle school bands at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15.

“We want to give our students several opportunities to play and share their talent,” Pehrson said.

As the calendar year flips to 2017, the program will include competitions and solo performances.  On Jan. 31, the music department will host its 4th Annual Concerto, which will feature about 10 student soloists, which could be voice, piano, string, woodwind or brass performances.

There will be regional festivals for each group.  Jazz band begins with a March 9 competition; followed by a March 21 regional solo and ensemble festival that will have about 230 musicians hosted by Hillcrest High. On April 20, the regional band festival will be held followed by the regional orchestra festival on April 27.

In amongst the competitions, more than 100 students in the jazz band, symphonic band, chamber orchestra, vocal ensemble and concert choir will travel April 3 through April 7 to Los Angeles to perform at a Disneyland theme park.

“The groups will perform at the backstage lot in California Adventure as well as attend workshops conducted by professionals.  They will go to a Disney recording studio where they will play music that is set to a Disney movie and we’ll be given that recording to bring back to school to listen to,” Pehrson said.

The tour also will include attending a Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra performance and seeing “An American in Paris” musical.

The groups will quickly re-assemble as the symphonic and concert bands take the stage for their spring concert at 7 p.m., April 26.  Two nights later, the orchestra string concert will be held.

Pehrson said that even though she aims to have student musicians improve throughout the year, she also wants them to learn other life skills.

“I want them to work as a team and gain the life skills they can take as they go into college or in a new job and work as individuals that make up a team.  Nowhere else in the school can they have the same experience as the music department where the whole group needs to give it all to help the group succeed.  Nobody is better than anyone else.  This is a place where everyone can belong and they can share a greater appreciation for music,” she said.

Pehrson said that students learn responsibility, dedication, self-esteem, confidence and other skills through music.  High school juniors and seniors also have a chance to demonstrate leadership skills through the music council, who are the “behind the scenes workers” that plan activities, help the musicians warm up for concerts and help plan the spring tour.

“These are the most dedicated students who are our heart and soul in the music department.  They set the tone and tempo for us for the whole year,” Pehrson said.    

Education, Today Hillcrest High School Halloween Spooktacular instrumental program
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