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Belmont students aim to hit the perfect notes at winter concert

Dec. 8 event showcases hard work of dozens of students in multiple bands
Belmont Secondary School music students Hongye Lin, Mac Johnston, Jay Lausman and Nihitha Pottumutu are gearing up for this year’s Winter Concert, set for Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

Band members at Belmont Secondary School have been practising day and night, their instruments are in perfect tune, and soon their moment will come to show off everything they have at the annual Winter Concert.

“We’ll have our choir, our senior winds, concert band, R&B band, and drum line, as well as a group of small combos, so it’s a good mix,” said Grade 12 student Jay Lausman. “This year, it’s almost fully normal again. Last year, we were still coming back from COVID, so there was still some uncertainty around whether we could do the concert. This year though, there is no uncertainty. It takes the pressure off you, just knowing we will do it, we can all be together.”

The 2021 edition marked the first time live music was performed at the school since the pandemic was declared, but the concert was still subject to limitations, including not having an intermission.

This year, however, the concert won’t just have an intermission, it will use that intermission to move the entire stage and audience from the school’s main theatre up to a common area on the second floor. The midway move will ensure each band and genre of music being performed will benefit from its ideal venue.

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The big, loud, and energetic drum line performances, for example, will be held in the main theatre. That particular performance is also set to be something special for the audience, said Grade 12 student Mac Johnston.

“The drum line is doing a cool glow-in-the-dark piece with glowing sticks on the drums, so there will be a visual aspect,” said Johnston. “People should expect a lot of interesting stick movement within that piece.”

For the students, the show is less a simple concert, and more a celebration of all the hard work they have been putting into mastering their instruments and ensuring they are doing their part to ensure each band sounds their best.

For Grade 11 student Hongye Lin, that meant learning to play two new instruments as the needs of the bands evolved. A flute player originally, Lin learned to play the trombone and the tuba in the lead-up to the concert.

“It’s really fun, but different musically. With the flute and the trombone, there are a lot of melodies, but the tuba is more about listening to the melody and making it bigger,” said Lin. “We had no low-end in our band, so here I am playing tuba.”

As a high school junior, Lin knows he has one more year to participate in the winter concert, so he is taking the opportunity to have some more fun with it than he may be able to next year, as the pressure to put on a perfect concert in your graduating year mounts.

Grade 9 student Nihitha Pottumutu has the opposite thought process as this will be her first high school concert.

“I’m really excited to perform in front of my parents. I remember going to my sister’s concerts, so I am excited to be on the other side of things this year,” said Pottumutu. “I’m a little bit nervous though … I think the piece I am most excited to play is Nights of Destiny with concert band.”

The concert is set to start at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Admission will be by donation, with all proceeds going to the Goldstream Food Bank. Cash donations are preferred, however non-perishable food items will also be collected.

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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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