For the first time, Dos Pueblos’ High School’s vocal and instrumental music departments are joining forces for the school’s Winter Concert.
On Dec. 12 and 13, the school’s mixed chorus, a capella choir, jazz choir, and concert choir led by vocal music director Courtney Anderson will share the bill with its orchestra, jazz band, and concert band for a show of holiday music.
Both nights’ programs will conclude with a joint performance of the concert band and concert choirs, while the first night will feature a special appearance by Dos Pueblos alumnus and “The Voice” contestant Mendeleyev Allan-Blitz, just two days after the singer-songwriter’s latest local performance at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club.
Dan Garske, director of the instrumental music program, said the non-vocal groups’ inclusion in the 2019 holiday concert is due to concert band being offered for the first time during the fall semester.
While it was exclusively offered during the spring semester, the Dos Pueblos concert band has been chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall in the 2020 New York Wind Band Festival in March, necessitating more time for the students to prepare.
In addition to various holiday standards, the concert band’s setlist at the Winter Concert will feature “Four: On a Remix of Beethoven” by Randall Standridge, variations on Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 that the band will perform in New York.
Once the bands and choirs have performed their respective sets, the concert band and concert choir will join to perform “It’s The Holiday Season,” a medley of Christmas standards such as “Happy Holiday” and “Let it Snow.”
As this concert is the first to include the school’s concert band, both Mr. Garske and Ms. Anderson agreed that its finale should be “something bigger” than in past years. The concert band and concert choir total around 160 students.
From singing with the Dos Pueblos jazz choir to playing Gaston in the school’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” singer-songwriter and alumnus Mendeleyev Allan-Blitz is no stranger to performing in the school’s Elings Performing Arts Center. Playing professionally under his first name and colloquially referred to by the nickname “Lev,” Mendeleyev’s profile rose this year when he appeared on the 17th season of “The Voice.” Herself an alumnus of the vocal music program, Ms. Anderson sang with Mendeleyev in the jazz choir and was astonished to see her former classmate appear on the vocal competition show.
“I was so thrilled to see him on ‘The Voice.’ That was so amazing,” she recalled.
By bringing Mendeleyev back to his alma mater for a performance, Ms. Anderson hopes the singer-songwriter will serve as an example for her students.
“My hope is that it will inspire kids currently at DP to follow their dreams and their passions like Lev has done,” she said.
During the Dec. 12 performance, Mendeleyev will deliver a set of his trademark acoustic folk music, which will include a generous amount of guitar and vocal improvisation. Though his setlist is not yet finalized, the singer-songwriter told the News-Press that he is considering playing a couple of soon-to-be released songs, including his original “Show me the Way Home” and the Bob Dylan cover “Girl From the North Country,” the song with which he auditioned for “The Voice.” Because of its appearance on the show, it’s a tune most of his fans want to hear from him.
“Most people do request that,” he said.
While the second night of the Dos Pueblos Winter Concert won’t have Mendeleyev, the vocal groups will do some of the previous night’s songs differently as night two happens to fall on a particular day.
“Because it’s Friday the 13th, we’re going to have kind of a dark spin on the night. Not the whole night, but a few pieces,” Ms. Anderson said.
Both nights of the Dos Pueblos High School Winter Concert will begin at 7 p.m., with doors to the Elings Performing Arts Center opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at the door cost $10 for general admission, $8 for students, and $5 for gold card carriers.