Middle School musicians take stage at Winter Fest Concert

Jan 22, 2023

For some of Wareham Middle School’s young musicians, the Winter Fest Concert held on Thursday, Jan. 17 was their first time playing in front of an audience.

The concert, directed by music teacher Caitlin Francese, began with “Reading the Notes,” a piece that Francese used to teach her fifth graders how to read music and play quarter notes.

The songs grew more complex as the concert went on, representing the progress the students were making.

Francese used the next song, “First Flight,” to teach the students how to hold longer notes.

“This is the first song students learned how to read the music without writing down the notes,” Francese said to the audience.

Flutist Ava Ambarick, 11, said that the hardest piece to learn was the folk song “Go Tell Aunt Rhody.”

“I spent two hours [practicing] to master it,” Ambarick said. “There were a lot of new notes and I had to adjust to them.” 

The students’ ability to grasp new musical skills surpassed Francese’s expectations. 

“This year, their readings of notes and rhythms have dramatically improved,” she said, “so they are able to identify, read and play rhythms more independently.”

Students quickly rearranged their gear in eight minutes for the sixth and seventh graders to take the stage.

The sixth and seventh graders began their portion of the concert with a piece called “Spooky Mansion.”

Such a title seemed amiss during a winter concert, but music teacher Francese reassured the audience that there is always time to get spooky. 

“Be careful,” she warned the audience before the band began to play. “You never know what you’ll find behind closed doors.”

The piece featured an eerie melody and fun percussion elements including chimes and a loud shriek from the musicians. 

“The best part was the screaming,” said flutist Alexis Powell-Gomes, 13. 

The sixth and seventh grade band ended their performance by singing “Happy Birthday” to Francese. 

The Middle School Jazz Band rocked the house with its performance of “Bags Groove,” which featured solos from Aliana Kennedy, Morgan Conner, Aamani Black-Gomes, Zayva Pena and Jacob Dutton. 

The chorus sparkled during its performance of “When the Lights All Shine” which featured special guest performances by staff members.

Francese said that she was pleased with all of her students’ performances.

“Through practice and perseverance, they were able to build their confidence,” she said.

The next Middle School concert is scheduled for Thursday, April 6.