Bands of Randolph Concert Showcases Exceptional Talent and Dedication of RHS and RMS Musicians


Jessica Ackerman

Members of the RHS Concert Band, directed by Michael Lichtenfeld, stand while taking in the applause at the Bands of Randolph Concert, held at the high school auditorium on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Mollie Ackerman, Staff Reporter

The three concert band ensembles of RHS shared the stage with the RMS eighth grade band for a polished performance at the Bands of Randolph concert, held at the high school on Wednesday, March 1.

The concert showcased the high school’s three concert band ensembles, Concert Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble, as well as a special featured performance from the RMS eighth grade band.

The night kicked off with Concert Band, directed by Michael Lichtenfeld. Their repertoire began with “Snakes” by Thomas Duffy, which featured dialogue and percussion instruments made from coins and socks. The piece paid tribute to aleatoric music, also called “chance music,” which gives musicians the creative liberty to add unconventional sounds to the written score, and which made for an experimental, chilling and exciting opening to the concert.

“It was a very different piece from what we normally play,” senior piccolo soloist Iris Freifeld said. “When Mr. Lichtenfeld told us we had to get a dollar’s worth of pennies to put in a sock, I was a bit confused, but the idea came together in the end.”

In their subsequent performance of “Danny Boy” arranged by Warren Barker, the ensemble donned leprechaun hats and shamrock accessories to get audiences into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. “We like to have fun as a band,” Lichtenfeld said following the song.  Ending with the invigorating “Rites of Tamburo” by Robert W. Smith, the band was able to tie up their performance with polished expertise.

The concert continued with a performance by Symphonic Winds, who played the more lyrical “Deir in De” by Warren Barker, which was juxtaposed with the more upbeat “Joy Revisited” by Frank Ticheli and the riveting “Black Horse Troop” by Phillip Sousa, edited by Frederick Fennell.

“I’m proud of the students for developing their musicality with these pieces,” Symphonic Winds Director Diana May said following the performance. She pointed out that, especially in the slower songs, “There’s no hiding, and every part is very exposed.” However, as always, the group rose to the challenge and truly exhibited their versatility as talented musicians in the process.

The Wind Ensemble, which is the most advanced band at RHS, took the stage next. Their selections included “Chester” by William Schuman and “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre. Similar to those played by Symphonic Winds, these pieces truly showcased the artful technique that defines the higher-level bands.

“Chester was my favorite piece,” senior flute player Gracie Schrader commented. “It was the hardest piece we’ve ever played as a band, and it was rewarding to see all the work we did pay off.”

The RMS eighth grade band, directed by Tom Davidson, joined the Wind Ensemble for the night’s finale. The combined bands filled the room with a booming performance of “Star Wars, the Force Awakens,” leaving the audience with a familiar and exciting tune and the eighth graders with a sense of what it feels like to be in a high school band performance.

“It’s really wonderful to see the eighth graders perform alongside our Wind Ensemble,” senior flute player Ethan Terry said. “I hope that they are encouraged to continue their participation in the band once they get to high school.”

Besides providing the audience with a night of music, this concert also served to inspire the next generation of prospective high school band members to get excited about continuing their band journey in high school. In between musical performances, videos played above the stage of current band members explaining what high school band class entails, why they joined band and what band means to them.

“You could really see the love and joy that we all have for band,” Schrader said.  The videos perfectly captured the sense of community and support found throughout the RHS bands. They also emphasized that band is a great way to further musical excellence while making lifelong friends in the process.

The high school bands will have another chance to play this music at their competitive performance at the North Jersey School Music Association (NJSMA) Region Concert Band Festival, being hosted at Parsippany High School on Wednesday, March 22, as well as for their Spring Concert on May 17 in the RHS Auditorium.