The Ridgefield High School music department’s winter concert will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. Three award-winning ensembles — symphonic orchestra, concert choir, and wind ensemble — will be performing. In addition, two newly established ensembles, concert orchestra and concert band, will take the stage for the first time.

The main orchestra theme is “Bach to Basics,” featuring many of Johann Sebastian Bach’s renowned works. Concert orchestra will be performing Bach’s Little Fugue in G Minor and Air on a G String, and Symphonic Orchestra will be performing Elgar’s transcription of Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor as well as the finale to Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 and Elgar's Nimrod from Variations on an Original Theme. Says instrumental music director Michael McNamara “I love the music of Bach. It’s been a while since we’ve performed one of his works. Every note is divine, every nuance crafted with genius. Performing his music is a study in the foundations of great composition and performance.”  

Concert Choir’s repertoire includes Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, S'Vivon, a Jewish folk song arranged by Darmon Meader, Sicut Cervus by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and Silent Night by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr.

Wind Ensemble will be performing West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, both audience favorites. Concert Band will be performing Rhythm of the Winds and Manhattan Beaches, a John Philip Sousa March.

This is the first year that the music program has been able to introduce tiered ensembles for the instrumental groups, meaning that there are two bands and two orchestras. Symphonic Orchestra has become a select ensemble, meaning students can audition for it after completing a one year Concert Orchestra prerequisite. Similarly, Wind Ensemble is audition-only for students who have completed at least one year of Concert Band. This system has become possible due to the incredible growth and popularity of the music program. There are currently 225 students enrolled in a music performance ensemble at Ridgefield High School, with the instrumental program being nearly double its size from the 2012-13 school year.  

“I attribute it to the dynamic music teaching of our colleagues at the middle and elementary schools,” says McNamara. “We’ve worked really hard to inspire kids to continue with their studies. I think it’s been working and our reputation is growing with our numbers.”  

“We have been getting the kids out into the community more,” Kevin Haines, choral director.  “Our Madrigal Singers and Nightingales (a cappella groups) have been singing all over the place, from the Ridgefield Playhouse, to the Holiday Stroll, to private functions.”  

The Ridgefield High School music program invites you to attend its winter concert taking place in the Anne Richardson Auditorium at RHS on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.ridgefieldhsmusic.org.