Orchestra puts on John Williams concert


Carter Diggs

After months of preparation and hard work, the Oxford High School Orchestra, led by director Jeffery Kuntz, put on its first concert of the year, carrying the theme of John Williams.

Classical music has faded out of mainstream culture over the years.  One place where it has been kept alive is in the cinema.  Undeniably, the most well-known composer in cinema is John Williams.

Williams is one of the most prominent modern American composers, whose works are popular throughout the world.  Many will be familiar with some of his most powerful soundtracks.  He has composed the songs for Schindler’s List, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan and Indiana Jones.

The concert began with a performance from the middle school orchestra.  After it performed its three songs, the high school stringed orchestra took its place on the stage and played three classical pieces. 

For the grand finale, brass players joined the strings to complete the high school symphony orchestra. 

The symphony orchestra preformed three popular tunes, or “pops,” by Williams.  Upon its repertoire was the Harry Potter theme song, the E.T. theme song and the credit medley from The Empire Strikes back.

Kuntz included these songs as he felt that many would be familiar with Williams’ songs and would enjoy getting to see them performed live.  Although the idea was originally his, he ran multiple songs through with the class, seeing what they liked and didn’t like.

“John Williams is the preeminent composer of our time, and most beloved; so his hits were the obvious choice to preform,” Kuntz said.

With the mix of classical compositions and more modern orchestral hits, the members of the orchestra enjoyed playing just as much as the audience enjoyed listening to their performance.  RaAnthony Perry, a sophomore and violist in the Oxford High School orchestra, performed a solo during Waltz No. 2.

“My favorite piece was the Impresario Overture because it was fast paced and different from the waltz (Waltz No. 2), which was probably my other favorite,” Perry said.

Aside from performing more modern and popular tunes, another thing that set the symphonic orchestra apart was the fact that the string members were joined by a few members of the Charger Band. 

The addition of wind instruments, which ranged from french horns, to trombone, and to flutes, helped balance out the sound and bring the tone to a grander scale.

“In orchestra, we usually have more rests as were are not the main focus,” said freshman Charlie Torrent, who is a string player in the orchestra and a brass player in the band.  “There are less of us; many of the wind players could only join us for certain practices.”

Even with the differences, Torrent was grateful to get a chance to play his french horn with the orchestra.  Getting to play the Imperial March on french horn was one of his biggest highlights for the concert.

Moving on from the success of this concert, the orchestra plans to have at least two more concerts throughout the year.

“One will be in March and the other in May,” said Kuntz, accounting for the projected dates of the concerts.