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#MonticelloRocks Spring Concert 2018

May 11, 2018

There are a million reasons why #MonticelloRocks. MHS parent Gabriel Espinosa recently shared one: 

"Imagine if you will a harmony so transcendental, so pure and innocent, that within moments of
hearing it your soul traverses the temporal and is enveloped by the eternal!

Imagine said harmony finding a voice in Sullivan County; in Monticello; in Monticello High School.
If you can imagine such a thing, then you too had the honor of experiencing the Monticello High
School Music Department Spring Concert last night.

Such was the effect of the first piece they presented, the Concert Choirs masterful rendition of
Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ conducted by Marissa Jurow. My goodness! What a joy to just close
my eyes to minimize distraction and surround myself with that which demanded my whole

The Choirs interpretation of Stephen Hatfield’s traditional Celtic tune, ‘All Too Soon,’ also
touched the soul, leaving one imagining a brisk romp through some lush and verdant pasture on
the Emerald Isle! Superbly executed!

This was followed by the reality of being a Senior in high school, summed up lamentably in the
Choirs rendition of Douglas E. Wagner’s ‘And Wherever You Go.’
The second part of the Concert was dedicated to the Orchestra. As Conductor Nancy Wegrzyn
pointed out, this year was the first time in 30 years that the high school could boast a full
Symphony Orchestra! Their 3rd piece, ‘Symphony #5 in C Minor’ by Beethoven was so profoundly
performed that one could easily forget they were sitting in a high school auditorium and not at
La Scala in the midst of Milan, Italy! There wasn’t an error to be heard. A perfect execution, from
the furious constant crescendoing to the solitary and almost mournful clarinet rising above it all
followed by the oboe acting almost as a dampener to the fury of the music. The piece left me
exhausted. And THAT is the mark of a piece well executed. Bravo to this orchestra and their

In the third part of the Concert we were treated to the work of the Concert Band, conducted by
Andrew Verdino.

Their rendition of David Shaffer’s ‘Last Ride of the Pony Express’ was smashingly BRILLIANT! The
urgency, the adrenaline, the reckless speed, the danger, it was all expressed vividly, and even
visually, from the clippity clop of the horses' hooves to the violence of sparks shooting from those
fiery hooves with every crash of the cymbals. It was Clint Eastwood meets Star Wars!
The fourth part of the Concert was dedicated to the Wind Ensemble, conducted by Andrew

Suddenly, there I was, on the slopes of Mt. Doom with Frodo and Sam, lava exploding all around,
resigned to our doom, such were the initial thoughts provoked by Steven Reineke’s ‘Fate of the
Gods!’ This was a very complicated piece for it tugged you violently from one scenario to another
without warning. From Mt. Doom to the tender and beautiful eve wedding of Anakin Skywalker
and Padmé Amidala, and then to the dark eaves of Mirkwood, and back and forth. A memorable
journey of memories it was.

The fifth and alas final part of the Concert was presented by the Combined Bands and conducted
by Andrew Verdino.

It featured ‘A Disney Spectacular’ arranged by John Moss. What a joyfully executed piece,
reminiscent of the musical history presented by Walt Disney’s landmark creation and
encompassing many more current pieces of Disney musical achievements. The perfect ending for
a perfect evening courtesy of the Monticello High School!

I must add that I was very impressed by the love and admiration the students have for their
instructors and mentors. I’ve written this before and I write it again, all you naysayers who have
nothing better to do than play keyboard warriors hiding behind the anonymity of the internet,
and constantly bad mouthing our school district in every manner possible, come out into the
light, attend the works of the schools, the concerts, the plays, the sporting events. THERE it is
that you will see our tax dollars at work molding and fashioning the future of our country. You
might even change your minds about how you vote when the school district asks for vitally
necessary funding. These kids...our kids deserve the very best of the best and these sorts of
expressions prove that without any doubt.

Bravo to the Monticello High School Music Department. Bravo to your students. Job well done.

- Gabriel Espinosa"

Gabriel, thank you so much for sharing such a nice message! We love hearing why #MonticelloRocks!