Inspired by the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Beaver’s chamber music director Joanna Goldstein devised a novel way to challenge her upper school student-musicians to “reach for the gold.” Ms. Goldstein turned the group’s annual House Concert into the “Chamber Olympics,” complete with professional judges and gold, silver and bronze medals for the participants at the finish.
Held the afternoon of March 4, the Chamber Olympics was the culmination of two weeks of individually graded recitals and and intense rehearsals to prepare the students to perform in “Bradley Hall Stadium” before an audience that included Ms. Goldstein’s colleagues in her acclaimed woodwind quintet Vento Chiaro, as well as their families and other spectators.
The “Opening Ceremony” featured Vento Chiaro performing music by Jacques Ibert and Maurice Ravel.
The “Athletic Competition” that followed placed the eight students in four different ensemble formations and put them through their paces performing pieces by Strauss, Ravel, Handel and Tchaikovsky. The students were joined by upper school history teacher Oris Bryant on trumpet in one of the pieces. After each recital the judges held up score cards, and one judge would then lead a short master class with students re-playing a section of the piece several times to improve their performance. Next Vento Chiaro played a blues suite by contemporary composer Gunther Schuller.
The “Closing Ceremony” was a collaborative performance that gave the students the chance to share the stage with Vento Chiaro. The entire group played a spirited reprisal of the waltz, “Tales from the Vienna Woods” by Johann Strauss, jr. The video of that piece is posted below.