On Tuesday, December 20th, and Thursday, December 22nd, Hillcrest High School presented the Winter Festival of the Arts and International Culture. Did you miss it? Not to worry! You can catch the Spring Festival coming up. To recap the winter show, it started with Mr. Belmonte’s group of Beginning Strings Orchestra. As the lights dimmed and the spotlight hit the performers, the band broke into a verse of March in the Style of Corelli. Even though it was their first time performing onstage, they settled smoothly and got through all of the songs. Next came the more advanced bands, respectively conducted by Mr. Tomlet and Mr. Belmonte. The audience were especially fascinated with the song Thriller by the famous pop star Michael Jackson, which was presented by the Intermediate String Orchestra, it brought a new environment to the auditorium.
The Chorus swooped in right after the orchestra and stole the show with their powerful voices. Jacqueline Vega’s performance of the song Bound to You stood out as her voice dramatically carried out throughout the entire auditorium and caught everyone’s attention. After the chorus performed, the pianists followed and filled the place with deep melodious notes while the audience sank deeper into their seats and relaxed at the sound of the beautiful music.
The music portion of the show ended briefly after the piano performances, but that was not the end of the evening. An abundance of dancers came out with their unique routines.These dancers introduced several cultures through their choice of music and their body language. Some of these traditional routines actually refined the performers’ skills and connected them back to their roots. The routines included several forms of the beauty of dance: Hip-Hop, Salsa, KPop, Ballet, Tropical, Modern, Bollywood, and much more. The audience was mesmerized by the talent that was within each dancer on the stage. It ranked from fast movements of salsa dancers, Gretchen Rojas and Yerly Villegel to the reenactment of Bollywood parodies played in multiple roles by Priya Pharsi and Melissa Young. Most of these dances were very bold and it was obvious that all the performers had worked extremely hard to perfect their routines. “The experience was amazing and all the performers were incredibly dedicated to the show,” gushed Samiha Mazumder after witnessing the successful show.
The show on Tuesday ended with a Bollywood group dance on the song Gun Gun Guna. “The thought of going up in front of such a large crown was intimidating, especially dressed up as a drunk guy among all the other girls,” admitted Aisha Abid. “However, I got more comfortable when the girls and I went on and showed off the weeks of practice that we all put into it.” At the end of the day, that is what mattered. The festival’s purpose was to bring the school together to enjoy a cultural show during the time of holidays, and the hard work all the performers put into it certainly made it pay off.
Thursday provided a similar order of performers. One difference from Tuesday night was the omission of the Beginning Band’s performance. Instead, the Advanced Band and the Advanced String Orchestra performed holiday music. Songs varied from Jingle Bell, Silent Night, Two Holiday Classic, to Angels Heard on High, God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, to today’s popular song, Heathens. They were followed by the Chorus and the solo piano performers. Afterwards, the Drumline players came in and enthusiastically raised the energy of the audience. They came out on stage playing, rhythmically moving into their positions as they began their set. There were wonderful solos performed by Charity Nwadike, Gissel Maradiaga, and Daryl Welch. It swept the audience off their feet and had them cheering to continue. They were fabulous. And it was a smooth transition into the dance segments of the festival.The same groups from Tuesday performed again, and they were even better. It was evident that so much effort and time went into the making of the festival, and making it successful.
Lastly, one cannot forget to credit all the artwork that was tastefully exhibited throughout the first floor. The art displayed was noteworthy. The art was varied and very eye catching. One set of illustrations were same shape rhinos drawn with completely different images and designs, such as the New York City skyline, or a set of clothing, or a row of shops, seen inside the shape of the animal. There were also depictions of a particular word with a corresponding visual image following it. It was amazing to see the talent displayed by these artists. This festival provided a wonderful forum for so much talent from so many of our students at Hillcrest; they were able to exhibit their artistic best, whether in a music performance or the visual arts. Kudos to all the faculty members who helped make the festival a reality. Congratulations for a making such a fine endeavor such a success! We are looking forward to see what the Spring Festival 2017 has in store for us!