The Bone-anza Concert at Arlington High School continues to be a highlight of the orchestra program, and it certainly was for me as a student musician. It featured all the string ensembles and full orchestras — fully costumed — performing spooky music and all things aurally macabre. A staple in the repertoire of Bone-anza was Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, which many first-time concertgoers might’ve recognized from the original Disney Fantasia movie. Night on Bald Mountain was a work that I remember as much too difficult for our high school orchestra, and I vaguely recall it as being a crash course in cut time and alternative instruments (we didn’t have a harpist, so the harp part was played on synthesizer; we had an abundance of clarinetists, but few — if any — who could navigate the part on an A clarinet). Still, it was exciting and something that everyone looked forward to each year.
One of my goals for the Brewster High School Music Department was to establish a similar tradition in this school district, and my determination was only strengthened by all the unfortunate weather incidents that plagued this area during my first two years as music director. In late October 2011, we were slammed with a snowstorm that knocked out power across the region and canceled school. Hurricane Sandy hit the evening of October 28, 2013, and school was cancelled — day by day — through November 2nd. That the students of Brewster only had one Halloween — my favorite holiday — in those first three years was disconcerting!
Luckily for me, I had a great mentor (who continues to be a fantastic colleague) who agreed to perform a Spooktacular Concert with me this year! The student-hosted haunted carnival prior to the concert and ticket sales raised record funds for the BHS Music Parent Boosters, and it was great so share this experience with Patty. I hope that it continues year after year because my students in all grade levels were really excited to perform.