The Columbia High School Winter Concert and Art Show, featuring the work of the CHS Band, Orchestra and Choral groups, as well as the work of CHS art students is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, December 2t at 7:00 p.m.
The show promises to draw a large crowd since the format being utilized is a marked change from past years. Why the change? The story is an interesting one.
Traditionally, the three performance groups at CHS presented their winter concerts on separate evenings. In fact, this year's original schedule had the CHS Choirs performing on Wednesday, December 15, followed by the CHS Band on Thursday, December 16, and the CHS Orchestra on Tuesday, December 21.
Anyone who has attended one of these concerts has probably been impressed by the performance but also possibly disappointed by the size of the audience in attendance. With three concerts on three different nights, all scheduled within a week and a half of Christmas, it was difficult to draw a sizeable crowd to any one of the three events.
The ground work to change the format of the winter concerts was set last year, when Anthony Mazzocchi (prior to becoming the South Orange-Maplewood School District Director of Fine Arts K-12) was in attendance at an art show at the Pierro Gallery of South Orange. The show featured the work of school district art staff. As Mazzocchi tells it, prior to the show "some of the district music teachers played a little something. One of the teachers turned to me and said that this was the first time music and art did something together."
Mazzocchi kept this comment in mind as well as the desire to make the Winter Concert a real event for the school and the community at large. Mazzocchi's philosophy is, "The concert is a fantastic way for hundreds of people to see their kids' work."
Mazzocchi consulted with his art teachers and asked them to take pictures of their students' work. This work is stored in a digital database and on the night of the Winter Concert will play a key role. During the Music Ensemble performances, CHS student art work will be displayed on multiple movie screens set up in the CHS auditorium.
Once the sun sets on the night of the concert, this art work will also be presented on the face of the CHS building.
Film animation students of CHS fine arts teacher Boris Gavrilovic will also have their work displayed on the large movie screens during intermission.
All of this technical wizardry will be handled by Synergy, the company that the school district contracts with to provide video, sound, stage and lighting services.
If the winter concerts at Maplewood and South Orange Middle School (held on December 13 and 14) are any indication, a large crowd can be expected at CHS on the December 21.
For Mazzocchi it is another step towards the goal of creating "community events of art and music... and celebrating what our kids do in all creative forms."