UPDATED, Dec. 18: When nights lengthen and days grow short, 'tis the season for stars of wonder and festivals of lights. On Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. Arlington High School (AHS) singers and instrumentalists brought to AHS Lowe Auditorium enlightening music ranging from Beethoven and Puccini to Dizzy Gillespie and Henry Mancini.

A holiday tradition for many years, the AHS Winter Concert was a sure-fire way to illuminate a chilly evening. 

In addition, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, the jazz band and madrigal singers will participate in a concert at Town Hall with the Selectones, the musical arm of the Arlington Board of Selectmen. Goodwill donation for admission; contact pkraemer[@]

At that event a spectacular Victorian gingerbread house, created by town resident Laura Morrisette, will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the AHS music program.

Until then, the house will be ensconced in a window of the Artful Heart gift shop, on Medford Street, in Arlington Center, delighting customers and passersby.

This is a special year for the AHS Honors Orchestra, Madrigal Singers and Jazz Band because they will be undertaking a European concert tour from Feb. 15 to 25, with stops in Milan, Varese and Torino, Italy, as well as Lugano, Switzerland.

AHS director of instrumental music Sabato ("Tino") D'Agostino, who founded Musica Vesuviana, a summer arts camp in Italy, is always thrilled to introduce American students to his native country. On this trip, he noted, he's especially looking forward to seeing AHS students collaborate and build friendships with European musicians.

AHS choral director Madalyn Kitchen, who will be traveling with the madrigal singers, observed that because the students will be giving at least one performance a day, they will need to have a high level of preparation and stamina. "It will be a wonderful, challenging, and fun opportunity," she added.

Fund-raising efforts to support the trip have included a spaghetti supper, concerts at Barnes & Noble, a car wash and yard sale as well as a promotion at Not Your Average Joe's restaurant. At the Winter Concert audience members will be able to purchase tickets for a raffle to benefit the same cause.


Rehearsal photos

On Dec. 15, choral highlights included "Adiemus," a piece in the Celtic style by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, presented by the mixed chorus, and the familiar "Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi, in an a capella arrangement by Philip Kern, performed by the Madrigal Singers.

Among the instrumental offerings were "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini presented by the concert band, with junior vocalist Joey Dalton and "The Days of Wine and Roses" by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, played by the jazz band and featuring sophomore vocalist Sam Harris.

In the repertoire of the string ensembles was the first movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major performed by the symphony orchestra with senior cello soloist Charlotte Bell and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saëns played by the honors orchestra with senior violin soloist Caroline Dressler.

Sending the audience out into the night with an extra dose of energy and inspiration was the grand finale: a joint performance by the symphony orchestra and mixed chorus of the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the well-known "Ode to Joy."

Show your support

Raffle prizes on Friday, Dec. 15, included gift certificates to Menotomy Grill, Kickstand Café, Otto Pizza, D’Agostino's Deli, Mr. Sushi and Menotomy Beer and Wine; drink tickets from Café Nero; desserts from Cookie Time; Capital/Somerville Theatre movie tickets; art works; photo-portrait sessions; private yoga instruction; and a chance to choose a piece to be played at the AHS Pops Concert in May. Tickets were $1 each or $20 for a grand-prize entry. 

This news feature was published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, and updated Dec. 18.