Evolution, the orchestra’s elite electric ensemble, stunned the audience with their memorized and choreographed holiday performance.
The show opened with crowdpleaser “Jingle Bell Hoedown” in which junior Christine Park played out a rebellious character that wanted to add more pizazz to a mainly classical ensemble. Senior Jared Stone acted the part of the conductor, and he would call out Park every time she eased the ensemble into a hoedown version of the classic holiday song. Eventually, Stone was kicked offstage by the rest of the group when they realized that the piece was more enjoyable with the country feel. This opening piece greatly demonstrated the togetherness of the group. Despite the fact that they had a drummer, Evo members kept tempo fairly well. Even when they had to move about, the ensemble managed to avoid dragging behind the beat.
Immediately afterward, the group decided to maintain the high energy by playing “Gimme Some Lovin,” a piece that the orchestra program had used in their fall concert back in October. Although the violins were a bit overpowering during this piece, the additional lighting and various formation changes kept the audience from noticing it too much.
To mix things up, Evo slowed down the tempo with their performance of “Falling Slowly.” Rather than have the lights automatically turn on, they faded in to enhance the mood of the piece. The slow harmonies complimented their swaying motions. Yet, to keep the audience attentive, the group changed their formations often. At one point, they made two columns and peeled away to the outside, creating an interesting illusion. Although there were minor bowing mistakes, the group was wise in choosing this piece because it displayed their ability to play a wide variety of songs.
Evo’s rendition of the holiday classic, “Sleigh Ride,” was absolutely eye-opening. This was mostly because they switched from the use of yellow light to white light. The violins each took turns playing solos to carry out the melody. The most interesting part of this piece were the contagions that led up to the legendary whip crack that the song is well known for. The musicians would stand in a line facing the audience and send a wave that turned each member to the side one by one. When the whip cracked, they’d all turn back to face the audience.
The group recycled another piece from earlier in the year, “Sweet Child Of Mine,” which was played for the potluck at the beginning of the year. The choreography for this piece utilized a lot of opposition in which the musicians would face each other and try to outplay the other.
After the concert ended, the audience applauded to the point that the group returned to the stage for an encore. They played the ultimate orchestral holiday song, “Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo.” This song is more commonly known as that song that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra plays that everyone air-guitars and bangs their heads to. The stage was flooded with electric blue lights that soon transitioned to white lights crossing over each other.
This concert, though short, has set a precedent that is going to be hard to top in the future.