The Night Before Christmas: A Holiday Instrumental Concert

The Auditorium came alive on December 19 for the annual Hanover High School Winter Band Concert featuring Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Ensemble. All of these instrumental groups rehearsed during and after school in the months leading up to this concert.

Concert Band is Hanover High School’s traditional “school band” and it started off the concert as it always does with five pieces. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson) started the concert because it is a classic holiday song that most people are familiar with even if they do not recognize the name. Next was Farandole (Georges Bizet), in which the flutes and clarinets had a brief solo. After that, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring is a famous Bach chorale. All chorales are known for their relatively simple melodies, what makes a chorale special is how the rest of the Band comes together with separate harmonizations to support it. In fact, almost every person in the Band played a separate part in order to make the piece come together as beautifully as it did. The relative calmness of the chorale was a perfect contrast for the excitement of Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson). The trumpet section really took the lead in their rousing performance. Concert Band’s final song of the night was ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (arr. by Bill Holcombe), which featured the narration talents of Superintendent Ferron. He narrated the famous poem while the Band played music to set the mood. Out of all the songs Concert Band played, this was the song that the most work and practice went into. While everyone was nervous of how it was going to sound going into the Concert, everyone in Concert Band was overjoyed at the performance.

After Concert Band left the stage to a standing ovation, Percussion Ensemble quickly took the stage. Percussion Ensemble is an afte- school group of the Concert Band percussionists. For the Winter Concert they performed an arrangement of O’ Holy Night. The uniqueness of their chosen arrangement quickly captivated the attention of the audience.

Jazz Lab followed. Jazz Lab is a group that allows any interest student to join and play solos over traditional jazz standards. For this concert, two standards were played: “Red’s Good Groove” by Red Garland and” Listen Here” by Eddie Harris. During the performance of” Red Good Groove,” Chris Clarke (alto sax), David Raab (clarinet) and James Burke (guitar) all performed solos. Soloists for “Listen Here” included Nate Hanrahan (soprano sax), David Raab (clarinet), and James Burke (guitar). It was clear that the audience was impressed with the variety of instruments and solos that were made from these two jazz classics.

Immediately after the applause died down for Jazz Lab, Jazz Ensemble performed. Jazz Ensemble is an audition-based band which emulates a 193os era Big Band. Big Bands are composed of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and various percussion.  In addition to performing at concerts, they are available for community events (gigs) and compete in competitions in the spring. For this concert they played two Christmas songs: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a medley of famous Christmas Carols called “Christmas Joy and Spirit.” Their traditional jazz standard was” Second Line (Joe Avery Blues),” which featured soloists Bobby McDermott on trumpet, Jake Prescott on alto sax, and Brian Meehan on tenor sax.

 To see a video of the Holiday Band Concert please visit

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