Ballade: small ensembles; big success

Ms. Catriana van Rijn
The York House vocal jazz group, Ragazza, took centre stage with their amazing singing.

On Thursday, November 27, St. George’s put on its first Small Ensembles Concert of the year. This evening of music happens twice a year, and includes the concert band from York House, as well as their vocal jazz group, Ragazza. The objective for the concert has two parts: one is to showcase the small, student-run music ensembles at St. George’s that many people never get a chance to hear, and the other part is to collaborate with one of our sister schools (York) in an evening of incredible talent. Both of these aspects were apparent and every ensemble performed above standards.

The night started off with the York House Concert Band (led by Mr. Spencer Bach), then transitioned into our school’s first group, the Saints Percussion Ensemble. After a few minutes of marvelous marimbas and dynamic drums, the  Saints Saxophone Quartet took the stage and played two pieces, finishing with everyone’s favourite video game soundtrack, Super Mario Bros. Once those saxy students tipped their hats, the Flute Ensemble performed a moving rendition of Faure’s Pavane. Next, one of Saints’ top clarinetists, Jack Li (grade nine), wowed the audience with his technical virtuosity. The Trumpet Ensemble then followed, and the Jazz Combo finished things off for the Saints small ensembles with the most cool and groovy take on the classic “Bags’ Groove” possible. The concert then swung back to York House when Ragazza walked on and impressed everyone in the house with their trio of tunes, ending with a spectacular performance of Midnight Train to Georgia. Finally, the St. George’s Wind Ensemble capped off the evening with an impressive, well-played program, including Ballade – a piece for solo alto saxophone (played beautifully by Nathan Ng, Gr. 12) – and closing with one of the keystones in concert band repertoire, Variations on a Korean Folk Song, by John Barnes Chance.

Overall, the concert was a huge success and everyone should consider attending the spring Small Ensembles Concert during Arts Week!