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Farmington High school entertains at concert with three ensemble bands

For the first time, all Farmington High School bands presented a concert — “All is Calm, All is Bright – A Holiday Concert” — on Dec. 20, in front of a packed recital hall. Kara Hildreth / contributor1 / 3
The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Jazz One bands performed “Silent Night” and musicians played on steps near the audience. Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 3
Band director Bradley Mariska narrated the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as the band was led by director Erin Holmes. Kara Hildreth / contributor 3 / 3

Farmington High School Band's ensemble holiday concert was aptly named "All is Calm, All is Bright."

Student musicians performed holiday songs with joy and delight for an audience that appeared to be captivated during the Dec. 20 holiday concert.

The bands performed in front of a packed audience inside the recital hall and the production showcased many student-led special lights, effects and all the bands received a standing ovation after the finale song.

The holiday concert featured three ensembles bands, including the Farmington High Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Jazz One band.

"We have big groups of musicians and this is a wonderful problem to have and we enjoyed collaborating together," said Erin Holmes, a band director. "Band director Bradley Mariska is so inspiring to all of us."

A PowerPoint presentation showed Christmas quotes about winter and the holidays written by famous, classic authors like Lewis Carroll who wrote "I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.' "

"The kids came up with the theme of the evening and were working with collaborating with the literature," Holmes said.

The concert songs ranged from carefree, fun holiday pieces to serious instrumental, classic music by design, Holmes said, adding: "We wanted to have peaceful and calm moments and the Jazz Band always wants to create their own style of enthusiasm."

Two songs played offered the chance for musicians to play band instruments close to the audience and standing on the steps. During the song "Carol of the Drum," drummers played in front and back of the stage area to create a unique sound and digital surround sound ambience.

"We wanted to create audience inclusion and bridge out with just the stage so we had four drummers play different parts and we had two drummers in the back behind and two closer to the front to create a sound of moving," Holmes said.

Two top band groups, the symphonic and wind ensembles group played with excellence, Holmes said.

The holiday concert was livestreamed online. The concert songs can be purchased on a flash drive or DVD from the Farmington High School Band department.

"It was phenomenal to watch from all over the place and we had a grandparent posting comments on social media from Florida and we had family members watching the concert who could not be there," Holmes said.

"It was so neat to hear some of the solos like Justine Beal on clarinet and Corbin Goodreau on clarinet," Holmes said. "All the kids work so and practice all the time and take professional lessons and they are involved not just in music but they have jobs, sports, speech, Boys Scouts and musicals," added Holmes.

Each bands performed beyond practice performances, Holmes said, adding: "They all play better than the day before at the concert and they keep delivering, and that is what makes my job wonderful to work with such great kids and colleagues and it is just all wonderful."

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