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Huskies get ready to impress at annual “Arts Jam” event

By Sasha Wai, Features Editor

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Currently, dedicated Flint Hill students are working vigorously to prepare for what is expected to be an impressive performance: the annual Arts Jam at George Mason University. Every year, members of Flint Hill’s choir, band, orchestra, percussion, a capella group (known as Major Minors) and dance programs unite to create a memorable evening showcase of these art forms. The event attracts many spectators, including students, faculty, friends, and family. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate the talented performers of the school. Already, much excitement and anticipation is surrounding the event.

“I’ve attended the GMU performance for the past two years and I can’t wait for this year’s performance,” said junior Sarah Fulton. “I love supporting my friends and watching the amazing art on display!”

Natalie Naylor, a freshman member of the choir, also shared the enthusiasm for the upcoming event.

“I’m excited to see how each branch of the Fine Arts Department interacts with each other,” she said, “and what each of them will bring to [the] combined pieces. I’m also looking forward to singing more contemporary and well-known songs, as most people don’t know the ones we sing in the winter.”

In order to live up to these expectations, the Fine Arts Department has prepared a program that is sure to please. Middle and Upper School Choral Teacher and Director of Musical Productions, Sarah Pramstaller, has chosen specific songs which she hopes will play to the strengths of the group.

“I’m very excited about doing the In the Heights medley,” she said, “because it’s written by a renowned composer who also wrote Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’m also looking forward to doing a piece from the new movie The Greatest Showman because I think that movie was spectacular. I think that both will make for very good musical numbers in the show.”

The entire jazz/modern dance program will also be accompanying the choir for their In the Heights medley, and individual dance classes will be performing contemporary dance numbers. Both the band and percussion directors, Derek Scott, Middle and Upper School Band Teacher, and Greg Holloway, Middle and Upper School Percussion Ensemble Teacher, respectively, are eager to share their plans for the evening program and invite all to come see the magic for themselves.

“This year, the band program is ‘Going to the Movies,’ and both the Symphonic and Jazz bands will be playing music from movies from the last fifteen years,” said Scott. “This means that we will be preparing music from Frozen, The Incredibles, Star Trek, and the James Bond franchise. The music is equal parts challenging and fun for the students, and the music should resonate with the audience due to its familiarity. We will also be combining with the orchestra to perform Cadillac of the Skies from Empire of the Sun by John Williams.”

“We are excited about our portion of the GMU concert,” said Holloway. “We have planned a variety of pieces to share! Tempus is an exciting piece that features various parts of the ensemble.  Hidden Dreams is a piece that expresses the dynamic range and emotion of the ensemble. Better Call SoSal is a Caribbean piece that features hand drums, drum set, mallet percussion, and some vocals.”

The orchestra and the Major Minors will also be featured during the evening. The orchestra still does not have a definite program, but is thinking about a “rock” theme and is considering some Led Zeppelin songs such as Immigrant Song, Kashmir, and Black Dog. Major Minors plans on performing two pieces as well.

There is another pleasant surprise for this year’s Arts Jam concert: a two-hour delay is planned for the following day. As Scott says, this will hopefully encourage even more people to attend.

“With the two-hour delayed start the next day,” said Scott, “this is probably one of the best opportunities to come see the concert and experience the performing arts at Flint Hill School!”

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Huskies get ready to impress at annual “Arts Jam” event