The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Sage Creek Music Department’s Winter Concert “The Gift of Music” Ushers in the Holidays

Photo by Helen Hao
Wind ensemble plays “Eight Nights of Light.” The challenging piece made for a dynamic performance by the group.

On Friday, Dec. 9, Sage Creek’s music department held its annual winter concert; this year was titled “The Gift of Music.” Tickets were sold on GoFan for $10 for general admission and $7 for senior citizens and students with an ASB sticker.

“The Gift of Music” began with chamber pieces and featured all three ensembles: orchestra, chamber orchestra and wind ensemble, as well as some combined pieces.

The pieces were chosen by Sage Creek’s music director Juliana Quinones and the musicians.

“We’re doing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra stuff,” Quinones said. “This is really kind of like rock and roll Christmas. When you’re driving around looking at Christmas lights, you see these shows, these houses that have light shows. And usually, you’ll hear some Trans-Siberian Orchestra in there. It’s like this really high-energy thing.”

Many diverse pieces were played as well to represent the variety of cultural celebrations during the holiday season

The Junior Joy Givers start off the night by playing “Carol of the Bells.” This piece was conducted by orchestra student Arianna Sharifi. (Photo by Helen Hao)

“We’ve got some Hanukkah music in there,” Quinones added. “Chamber orchestra is playing more traditional, western art music pieces, wind ensemble’s playing a little bit of jazz.” 

The group Junior Joy Givers opened the night with “Carol of the Bells” and “Waltz of the Flowers” conducted by orchestra student Arianna Sharifi. This was their first performance this year, and they’ll have many more to come. The Junior Joy Givers plan to perform at senior centers to spread the holiday joy.

The second chamber group was distinguished by their string instruments and sunglasses. This group, called Santa’s Homies, played “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Following this was “Silent Night” played by the cello choir and a magical rendition of “Winter Wonderland” by the chamber group Snowy Paradise.

The fifth performance was by the Festive Falcons. The Aviara Oaks alumni group performed “Feliz Navidad”.

A harp duet by 71 Strings presented a unique take on Mykola Leontovich’s “Carol of the Bells.”

Next, the King Bob Christmas Vacation group played the Hawaiian-themed Christmas song “Mele Kalikimaka”. This group had a mix of violins, cellos, bass and guitar.

The last chamber group of the night, the Jazz Combo, featured strings, wind and percussion. The Jazz Combo played three songs: “Recordame,” “Firm Roots” and “Equinox.” Each member had a solo, showcasing their incredible talent and skill.

After a short intermission, full ensembles took the stage.

Wind ensemble played “Eight Nights of Light” by Jonathan Leshnoff and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Eddi Pola & George Wyle.

“From day one, the kids have just wanted to be here,” Quinones said. “They’ve wanted to challenge themselves. Two of the ensembles, I gave them the option to choose some easier music, and they went with the hard stuff.” 

The ensembles spent months preparing and have been coming together for after-school rehearsals to practice full orchestra pieces.

Clarinetist Carissa Lu is proud of the progress they’ve made.

Music director Juliana Quinones conducts “Mad Russian Christmas,” the last song of the night, in front of the audience. All ensembles came together to play this piece. (Photo by Helen Hao)

“Well, during our class time, I’ve noticed that we’ve been improving. And it’s so great to hear different sections come together and just work with one another,” Lu said.

Next on stage was the orchestra which beautifully performed “A Menorah (A Tribute to Hanukkah)” by Ron Castonguay. 

chamber orchestra followed their performance with “Fantasia on Greensleeves” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “English Carol Collage,” a traditional piece.

Violist Nathan Carlo Lugtu, who plays in chamber orchestra, talks about the group’s dynamic.

“We’re a really close-knit community. Essentially, a big family.” 

The night ended with full symphony pieces performed by more than 80 musicians on the stage. The wind and strings set up in the front while a rock band was elevated at the back. 

They played the fast-paced “Wizards in Winter” and “Mad Russian’s Christmas” – both songs from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

“These are probably the best pieces we’ve ever played,” Lu said.

The music department has an exciting year ahead with plans for future performances and showcases in the spring.

“We’re bringing back our festival of the arts this year,” Quinones said. “We haven’t had that since before the pandemic, so there’s going to be a lot of chamber music happening towards the second half of the school year.”

Their next concert will be the Pops Concert, where chamber groups will perform songs from pop culture.

“My goals are just to keep the energy going,” Quinones says. “All this energy that the kids have, and there’s fire in them to keep challenging themselves and growing. My goal is to keep that going.”

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Sage intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Sage does not allow anonymous comments, and The Sage requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Sage Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *