Con Tutta Forza!

Music has always been a big passion at Memorial, with its extravagant orchestras, magnificent bands, and lively choirs. From individuals who have no musical experience to musical prodigies who have performed in a large concert hall, the JMM music program has a well-known history of music making. This year, Memorial brought on a vibrant varnish to the Philharmonic Orchestra, with its new conductor, Mr. Andy Johnson.

As a teacher, conductor, and cellist, Mr. Johnson has a diverse musical background. He taught in elementary, middle, and high schools in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont. During his graduate studies, Mr. Johnson also taught music education classes and cello lessons as a graduate assistant at Ithaca College. This year at JMM will be his ninth year of teaching orchestra.

The Philharmonic Orchestra, with 44 great musicians, fills the orchestra room with a rich and mellifluous sound when they play. The students come from all grade levels, from 9th through 12th grade, and are always motivated to work hard in the classroom. Mr. Johnson believes that there is a great bond among the musicians, each displaying excellent leadership both musically and socially. The students regard Mr. Johnson as a very nice teacher who loves to teach.

Currently, the orchestra is working on three pieces for the first concert cycle, one of which is Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, Opus 4. It was written between December 1933 and February 1934 in Lowestoft, England, using handfuls of old tunes and song melodies that Britten had written for the piano as a young teenager. The piece consists of four movements with the most peculiar names, starting off with the first movement, Boisterous Bouree, with its colorful twists and turns in the theme. The other three movements are entitled Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale. The other two pieces are both Concerto Grossos, one piece being a movement of a Concerto Grosso by G.F. Handel and the other piece a modern Concerto Grosso titled Palladio, written by Karl Jenkins in 1996.

On October 23rd, come and check out the 1st magnificent concert. 2013 marks the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten and the Philharmonic Orchestra is truly going to make the music come to life!

If you are interested in joining the orchestra this year or next year, please feel free to come by and talk to Mr. Johnson. Article by David Cao





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