RHS Presents Extraordinary Annual Spring Band Concert

Concert Band, directed by Michael Lichtenfeld, performs a medley from the movie, “How to Train Your Dragon,” with music by John Powell, accompanied by clips from the film, at the annual Spring Band Concert on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in the high school auditorium.

Jessica Ackerman, Arts Editor

The high school presented its annual Spring Band Concert, which featured various music genres, expertly played by the students’ very own Concert Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble, on Wednesday, May 17, in the auditorium.

The night began with a triumphant rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” arranged by Michael Hamilton and performed by the Inaugural Trumpet Quartet, featuring seniors Autumn Carmona as well as juniors Anya Srivastava and Kevin Tish, under the direction of Michael S. Lichtenfeld.  This performance set the stage for a truly spectacular night of music.

First to perform was the Concert Band, directed by Lichtenfeld. Their repertoire was a playful display of youthful joy and reverence, and included “Jungle Dance“ by Brian Balmages, and a medley of music from the children’s movie “How to Train Your Dragon” by John Powell and arranged by Sean O’Laughlin. The piece was complemented with a projected video accompaniment of scenes from the popular film. “I really loved playing ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ ”  senior trumpet player Andrew Berkemeyer said. “While it was challenging rhythmically, it also brought me back to my childhood.”

Symphonic Winds, directed by Diana May, took the stage next. The ensemble enchanted audiences with the traditional Scottish song “Loch Lomond” arranged by Jarod Hall. The second song performed by Symphonic Winds, “Broken Pieces” by Peter Sciano, took a more sentimental turn, paying tribute to Henry Aulenbach, the late son of Chrissie and Dave Aulenbach, who passed away from brain cancer at age eight.

The Aulenbach family has been an integral part of Randolph’s band program since Chrissie was a student in the 1990s, and David was a band director until 2011. The participation of their older twin sons, Joe and Charlie, was also recognized as members of the Class of 2018 Marching Band. Henry, their youngest son, born Oct 23, 2011, as stated by Christine, “always had a song in his heart.”

The heartwarming tune was accompanied by pictures from Henry’s life projected onto large screens on both sides of the stage. The bittersweet symphony was a beautiful reminder of the light and love that defined Henry and warmed the hearts of the audience with a loving remembrance of a life that was so valued by the Randolph band program and community. “It has truly been an honor working with this great group of students on a piece so close to my heart,” said May, a close friend of the Aulenbachs, prior to the performance.

Symphonic Winds ended their performance with “Farandole” from “L’Arsienne Suite No. 2” by George Bizet and arranged by Larry Daehn. This segued into a traditional element of the Spring Band Concert: the recognition of select seniors who received a variety of prestigious awards and scholarships.

The first award, the Band Parent’s Association Scholarship, went to senior students who have shown exemplary passion and dedication to the band program. As the audience erupted into applause, tenor saxophone player Mollie Ackerman, clarinet player Katrina Lanese, trombone player Gavin Emdur and flute player Gracie Schrader were announced as this year’s scholarship recipients.

Following this, the Nicholas Muccia Memorial Award, which honors the late 2009 season Marching Rams Drum Major Nicholas Muccia, was given to trumpet player Autumn Carmona in recognition of her “kindness, empathy and can-do attitude” in band and as an individual. “Winning the award was such a cumulative moment of my high school band experience,” Carmona said. “It’s the support of my friends and loved ones that pushed me to be the musician and leader I am today.”

After the awards, the prestigious Wind Ensemble took the stage to provide a strong finish to the memorable night. Their selections included “Festivo” by Vaclav Nelhybel; “Romanza” from “Second Concerto for Clarinet” by Carl Maria von Weber, which featured senior clarinetist Katrina Lanese as a soloist; and the energetic “Galop” by Dimitri Shoshtakovich and translated by Donald Hunsberger.

The end of the night featured a jubilant celebration of the Class of 2023 senior band members, with refreshments and socialization in the Commons. The space buzzed with pride and nostalgia, and echoed the sentiment of Mr. Lichtenfeld who said, “The seniors were tremendous given the circumstances of these past four years, and we could not be more thankful for them.”

Although the Spring Band Concert marked the end of full ensemble performances for the 2022-2023 academic year, many band students are not done performing just yet: Select students will appear at the Honors Music Recital on Wednesday, June 7. Additionally, the underclassmen band students will perform at the RHS graduation on Thursday, June 15.