Music Department Kicks Off the School Year with Annual Informance


Photo by Lauren Hsu

Portola Singers and Canta Bella perform “The Prayer of the Children” by Kurt Bestor. This coming April, all choir groups are invited to attend the spring break tour in Chicago, Illinois, where they will receive specialized coaching from expert conductors.

Lauren Hsu, Staff Writer

Roaring applause filled the theater as audience members took their seats, and the spotlights flickered on to reveal a sea of polished instruments. The music department hosted its annual Informance Concert on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Portola theater, which featured students from the highest level music courses.

Between performances, instrumental directors Desmond Stevens and Kyle Traska and vocal director Adrian Rangel-Sanchez announced upcoming events and informed parents of their critical role in the music program.

“The top level groups have been focusing on developing their ensemble sound…finding out how the character of the ensemble is going to work,” Traska said. “[They’re] working up one or two pieces that showcase how quick the students can get something together and demonstrate their skills.”

Stevens and Rangel-Sanchez welcomed the audience by introducing the Treble and Bass Chorus, who performed the traditional African-American spiritual, “Walk Together Children.” Portola Singers and Canta Bella soon followed with the emotional “The Prayer of the Children.” The piece will also be featured in the fall choir concert, which is centered around social justice in order to raise awareness about family separation at the border.

As the choir groups filed off the stage, Wind Ensemble took their place to play the solemn “Air for Band” before quickly transitioning into the more upbeat and whimsical “Shepherd’s Hey.”

“What I like about the Portola orchestra is that it really does feel like a family,” senior and violinist Dylan Gates said. “We’ve all been together for the past four years, so we’re all really familiar with each other.”

When the applause died down, Stevens announced his plans for fundraising, giving examples of how exactly donations will be used. Traska then introduced the new technology that will allow students to compose and record their own music.

“The main goal [of the concert] is to try and involve the parents into our learning,” sophomore and clarinetist Ashley Jo said. “[They] get to see how important music is in our daily lives.”

The program drew to a close with the baroque piece “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3,” played by Symphonic Orchestra.

“It’s a great opportunity not only to see how quickly students can get these pieces of music up and sounding good,” Traska said. “It’s also a great way for the whole population of parents to see what the program has to offer their students at the top level.”