Sleigh Bells Ring at ORR

Baby, it was cold outside as the Old Rochester Regional High School music department took the stage for their annual holiday concert.  Music lovers were treated to four different ensembles during the show on Thursday, December 13.

 “Tonight, we’re featuring the chorus, concert band, jazz band, and jazz combo,” said ORR music director Mike Barnicle.  “It’s a great group.”

The program was a mix of the familiar and exotic.  The jazz band played a Latin-inspired piece named “Cuaba” and the chorus ended their performance with the classic carol “Silient Night.”

While many of the musicians were still working out last minute nerves backstage before the show started, tonight marked the end of a very long, but festive journey.

“We’ve been rehearsing holiday songs since September, so we’re relieved to be here tonight,” joked Barnicle.

The graduating class of 2012 took with it many of the senior musicians in the department.  This fall, a big influx of freshmen took their places and Barnicle said he was excited for them to perform in their first holiday concert.

One of those new-comers is Mattapoisett native Zenobia Nelles, a clarinetist for five years.

“I’m happy to be playing in this group,” said Nelles.  “When you get to high school, the kids who did it more as a hobby in middle school lose interest.  But all the people here really care about it.”

Senior and saxophone player Mike Bliss was confident that the new students would be able to carry the torch for the out-going players like him.

“We lost a lot of seniors but the freshmen this year really brought it back.  That’s good news for the music department,” said Bliss.

Though this was his last holiday concert at ORR, Bliss was focused on the moment but thankful for the opportunity to play.

“I’m sad to see it go.  It’s been a long time, but I’m playing with a lot of good musicians tonight, and I feel great about that.”

By Eric Tripoli

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