Kevin Tannock

Original scores highlight Belmont year end concert

It’s keys have been played by such celebrities as Sarah McLachlan, but on Thursday, Belmont’s Chan Namgoong will command the attention of the room with the Steinway baby grand.

A pianist for only five years, Namgoong, 17, says he’s excited to perform a solo of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on the baby grand piano, donated by Tom Lee Music.

“I’m excited to be playing a solo, but I’m sad it’s our last big concert,” Namgoong says.

A beloved annual tradition, Belmont’s year end concert features 120 young musicians and singers in seven performance ensembles and two student-led combos.

This year students have written original music for the two combos, the first time in the concert’s long history.

The original first score is a jazz combo with a Latin flavour, written by Trevor Hoy. The second is a up-tempo rock ballad written by Josh Van Meurs.

“Usually the combos are a popular song the students arrange,” says Belmont music teacher Mandart Chan. “For the first time we’ve got two students composing original work.”

The students, many who play multiple instruments through the evening in multiple ensembles, say the year end concert shows the level of depth and talent honed by Belmont’s music department.

At the same time, many of the students say the concert marks the end of a era — after two or more years of being a tight-knit group, for most of the Grade 12 it’s the final time playing together.

“It’s always emotional at the end,” says Hannah Kaenh, 17, who sings and plays bass clarinet and trombone. “This is our very last concert and then we go our separate ways.”

Vocal jazz singer Rhiannon McLaren is looking forward to choir concert repertoire, but also to delve into a traditional South African Zulu song, as well as a few golden oldies.

“We’ll be doing pieces by the Beatles,” she said. “It will be a lot of fun.”

Belmont secondary’s year end concert is Thursday, June 2, doors open at 6:30 p.m., 3067 Jacklin Rd. Admission is by donation.

The music portion of the evening is expected to run about one hour, 45 minutes, followed by award presentations.

 

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