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Lord Byng Strings Newsletter Q1

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Strings Council:

The Strings Council has started off on a high note (no pun intended)! 

            Led by Strings Council President, Megan Wang (‘22), we started the first meeting with a big brainstorming session. We had over 30 students who attended the first meeting, and we came up with many exciting ideas that different students took leadership in. Ms. Anderson looked highly upon student-led initiatives and has given many council members the opportunity to manage their own projects. Let’s recap the amazing activities and projects that we’ve been up to.

            First, we have been working diligently on making Lord Byng Strings sweatshirts and masks. Under the leadership of Emily Kim (‘22), and Alex Tupperainen (‘25), we have completed the mask orders and students will be picking them up soon. According to Emily, “the sweatshirts and masks I have been  asked to design alongside an eager, younger student is really a visual representation of strings as a whole. Because all the groups have been split in half, it was our goal to stay connected; the items strings council has designed (with the help of Ms. Anderson as well as an expert parent!) will reflect greatly on the outcome of the products students in strings will be fortunate enough to purchase very soon!” Special thank you to Jinny Lim’s mom, Ms. Iris Lee, who has been an amazing parent volunteer helping us with the masks! We loved how the masks turned out, and can’t wait to get the sweatshirts started!

            The next program we have launched is the Strings Mentorship Program, run by Sarah Wang (‘22) and Tara Deng (‘21). This program pairs together a mentor in Gr.11 or Gr.12 with a mentee in Gr.8. The goal of this program is to strengthen the bond between junior and senior strings players and help them through COVID-19 hardships. Mentors and mentees will have monthly calls, and will stay in constant communication. We’re hoping that this will help Gr.8 students, who are still transitioning into high school by having someone to turn to for advice and help. As a passionate leader, Sarah proudly says “we recently held our first meeting and received very positive feedback from everyone. I cannot wait to see what this program grows into!” This will be a year-long program, and we can’t wait to see how the friendships between mentors and mentees will develop!

This concludes what strings council has achieved thus far. This is only the beginning, and we can’t wait to see what else the Strings Program has in store for the future. 

LBSO:

The Lord Byng Symphony Orchestra (LBSO) has had a fantastic quarter! 

            LBSO has been working very hard to perfect the pieces we are playing. The pieces we played were the Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major by Beethoven, and the Hungarian March by Berlioz. In addition to the two wonderful symphonic pieces, we had a variety of beautiful concerti played by soloists and accompanied by the orchestra. The first concerto we rehearsed was the Horn Concerto No. 1 by Strauss, and our Soloist was Diana Wu, a grade 12 student. The second concerto we rehearsed was the Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, by Saint-Saens, played by a grade 12 cellist, Tara Deng. Next, we accompanied Chantelle Liang who played the Marcello Oboe Concerto in C minor. The final concerto we worked on was Concerto No. 5 for Violin by Mozart, played by grade 12 musician Mizuki Yaesawa. 

            As an orchestra, we were incredibly keen on sharing the pieces we had worked so hard on with the public. However, given the current situation, we faced several setbacks. The first main problem we faced was getting the entire orchestra together to rehearse the music together. We had to find times when everyone was available, and we needed a larger space to ensure that we could rehearse safely together. In the end, we overcame these struggles and managed to find a time when we could all rehearse together in the gym.

            In terms of sharing our hard work with the public, we had many different ideas, such as recording individual parts and piecing them together, or holding a live outdoor concert. However, in the end, we settled with a full live audio recording socially distanced at the Chan Centre. However, just a week before we were set to record, we could not follow through with our plan due to the newest COVID-19 regulations on social gatherings. This has left us deeply saddened, but we did not give up. We still decided to make simple recordings, but we did them in our individual cohorts in the small strings room. Our co-concert master, Megan Wang, says that “the final recording is a testament to how hard we actually worked. We struggled in the beginning, but we all worked hard, put in immense amounts of effort, and produced incredible and amazing recordings. I’m proud to share them with the rest of the school, my family, and the public!”

Senior Honour:

Senior Honour has started off the 2020-2021 year with some great music. Due to COVID-19 regulations, senior honour is also divided into two cohorts just like other classes. This course takes place during Flex A and Flex B on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

            Currently, we are working on playing pieces by various composers, such as Barber (1910-1981), Gliere (1875-1956), and Litvinovsky (1962). We have recently started practicing Litvinovsky’s piece “Theatre”, music from the movie “Le Grand Cahier” introduced by Emi Yannakoulias (‘21). One day, she was listening to music while studying for her school work, and she fell in love with this piece. She contacted the composer and surprisingly, she got a reply! The composer was ecstatic for a secondary school to play his piece, and offered us his music for free. We are working very hard on this piece, as this is a modern piece and there are not many references. We are working very hard to interpret the music style with the help from Ms. Anderson, and can’t wait to record it!

 

Although these times have been incredibly difficult for musicians with social distancing regulations, we successfully recorded a performance for the school’s Remembrance Day Assembly. Ms. Anderson chose to play Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, composed in 1936. This piece was originally composed for quartets, but we played the version arranged for string orchestras. 

 

Senior Honour will be a year long course, and we cannot wait to see what new and exciting things we will accomplish!

 

Intermediate:

Intermediate orchestra is made up of primarily grade 8 musicians, but also includes grade 9 and 10 musicians. This year was incredibly different as we started off their high school journey with some recordings. Many of us have not experienced recordings until this year! 

 

This year, we recorded Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 8 by Arcangelo Corelli, which is also widely known as the "Christmas Concerto." A composer during the Baroque musical era c. 1580 – 1750 Arcangelo Corelli’s famous “Christmas Concerto” is well known for its six short movements which alternate between fast and slow tempos. The drama of a concerto grosso lies in the contrast between the solo players and the full ensemble. Corelli loved using suspensions, holding out notes which sound “wrong,” and then finally resolving them. There is a complex interplay between the instruments throughout the three movements.

 

Violin solos played by John Ye, Bob Xu, Snoo Choi and Lucy Haranghy

Cello Solo played by  Mia Liu and Ealleen Chen 

Piano played by Jake Wong.

 

We also recorded the piece Perseus, by Soon Hee Newbold. Soon Hee Newbold is a modern, living composer producing albums, acting, and composing for film, television and commercials. She composed the “Perseus” piece based on the legendary figure in Greek mythology of the same name. Perseus is best known for slaying the hideous snake-haired Gorgon Medusa, whose looks turned everyone to stone. Being a son of Zeus, he received help from Athena, and from gifts that aided him in completing his quest, which included a shield, an cap that made him invisible, winged sandals, a sickle and a satchel to carry Medusa’s head. While there are differing details in several versions of the Perseus story, his fictitious descendants include the famous Hercules and emperors of Persia. All thematic melodies are portrayed in this riveting string orchestra piece!

 

Well done Intermediates! More years to come for the talented junior students. We can’t wait to see how they will grow!


MUSIC FUN:

 

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TO BE CONTINUED TO QUARTER 2…

 

Mizuki Yaesawa Grade 12

Darren Yang Grade 11 

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