Before breaking a leg: behind the scenes of South’s concerts

Imran Siddiqui '20, Copy Editor

Weeks worth of work all culminating into one or two performances is a common process for all of the performing arts students at Grosse Pointe South. Each choir, band, or orchestra concert is the result of a period saturated with after-school rehearsals and additional practices.

The performers put in extra hours to ensure their performance stands out, according to Cate Christinidis ’20. Christinidis is a member of the Tower Belles, and she loves the chance to show the public what they work on in class.

“I love being able to do something that I am impassioned about each day,” Christinidis said. “It’s more than just a class; it’s a huge part of my life. I love being able to do it outside of school too and show it to others.”

According to a member of the concert orchestra Zachary Ashkar ’20, the best part of playing his instrument is getting to perform in front of others.

“My favorite thing about concerts is that my family and friends get to see the product of all my hard work,” Ashkar said. “I like to play for other people.”

Orchestra teacher James Gross said he enjoys concerts because they give him the opportunity to show the public all of his student’s talents.

“(Concerts) serve as a showcase for the work (that) goes on every day

Photo credits to Madeline Allen ’20

,” Gross said. “I like to show off the students hard work.”

Gross said he’s proud of his students’ effort during their performances and added a lot of work goes into each concert and students start working early in the year.

“We always start slow,” Gross said. “We learn line upon line, precept upon precept, note upon note, with little bits at a time. Eventually, we have a whole piece learned, and then eventually we have a whole concert learned.”

The time commitment of choir increases by tenfold as concert-time approaches, according to Christinidis. Their most recent concert, Sounds of the Season, required numerous out-of-school practices.

“Each time we have a concert, we have tech week– a week where we work with the sound people and the work people to make sure everything is ready to go,” Christinidis said. “We rehearse a lot of the choreography during class and during tech week we run through the whole show and make the final touches. We make sure it looks good and sounds good. A lot of hours are put into it.”

The orchestra has the Strings Extravaganza Wednesday, Dec. 20, Ashkar said. It is a concert that includes all school system’s orchestras, from the elementary school to the high school level. According to Gross, this concert is designed for the elementary students to see what lies ahead for them. He said that they have started to practice more because of the upcoming performance.

“I have prepared for (Strings Extravaganza) by practicing my music each night. Next Monday, we have a group practice after school,” Ashkar said. “I usually practice an hour every other day, but closer to concerts I practice 30 minutes every night.”

Even with the huge time commitment, Ashkar and Christinidis agree all the hard work is worth it. They said the seeing the result of all the hours of practice allows for the concerts to be the spectacle that they are.

“Before concerts, you get this random burst of energy; you feel like you need to be the best you can,” Christinidis said. “It makes you feel really proud of everything that you have accomplished.”