Peter Bement, the current orchestra director, conducts the Woodwind Ensemble
Peter Bement, the current orchestra director, conducts the Woodwind Ensemble
Lila Concepcion

Fanfare 2024: A Culmination of Musical Excellence

Last Friday at 7 p.m., the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts (HBAPA) Orchestra came together to put on their annual spring concert, “Fanfare.” They were accompanied, for the first time, by Ethel Dwyer Middle School’s Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras. This showcase of differing skill levels created an interesting dynamic, with some of the musicians from Dwyer planning to join HBHS’s orchestra in the fall.

Neil Reyes, Dwyer Orchestra director and conductor, addresses the audience to introduce their first piece (Lila Concepcion)

HBAPA students appreciated the chance to look back on their roots as well.

HBHS sophomore, Sayg Morton, said, “What I loved most about getting to perform this year was… see[ing] some of my middle school friends and Mr. Reyes—my favorite teacher ever, he’s the band director at Dwyer.”

The performance included nearly 30 songs, with pieces from Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” and Albanian singer Dua Lipa’s hit song, “Dance the Night” (yes, from the Barbie movie!).

“[What] I loved most about playing this year was… the wide variety of music that had some newer piece[s] with some classical in the mix,” said HBHS junior and timpani player Lucas Pollacchi.

“Fanfare” featured a variety of musical ensembles, including percussion, strings, woodwind, and brass, as well as the award-winning APA Advanced Orchestra. The percussion ensemble began with “Let the Big Dawg Eat” and “Rapid Transit,” which served as fantastic openers, effortlessly creating a surround-like sound with trippy, tone-plate percussion notes.

“I thought that the percussion was extremely well executed,” said Chris Dawson, HBHS sophomore, and member of the Chamber Orchestra.

Put together, the mash-up was over 10 minutes long, acting as an overture to the top of the show and effectively settling in the audience for what was to come.

Spanning across the entire concert, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” is a series of 12 uniquely characterized songs inspired by the months of the year. The piano ensemble performs it in its entirety. Overall, each concert pianist brought a cleaner technique and sharper sound, picking up “Fanfare” where it might have dropped off in excitement during the latest number or ensemble.

Pianist and HBHS sophomore, Brandon Le said, “I’ve been playing [piano] since 2016, so around 8 years, [and] this year, my favorite part about Fanfare was that I got to perform as a soloist… playing the second movement, “February,” in Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Seasons.’”

The Select Wind Ensemble performs their piece Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Allegretto” in the pit (Lila Concepcion)

However, the real magic of this spring concert jumped to life within the last two numbers. Featuring the APA Advanced Orchestra, “Dusk” and “Berceuse and Finale” created a highly anticipatory and exciting environment with crescendos and isolated instrumentals. Ending with Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” was fantastical and exhilarating—the perfect end to a three-hour-long musical journey.

“My favorite piece was Berceuse and Finale because it was such a beautiful piece and it was a great way to end the show… Fanfare was such a fun experience, and I can’t wait to perform next year,” said oboeist and HBHS freshman, Sabrina Lopez.

“Fanfare” 2024 is a completely different reflection of music from 2023’s performance, yet, it’s better for it. This year’s concerto ultimately surpassed its expectations, and assuredly, the same quality and style will appear next spring as well.

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