By Chris Bavender
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been two years since the Fishers High School Performing Arts Dept. has been able to perform its showcase concert. Now, the group is set to take the stage at 7 p.m. April 26 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
“This is a fantastic experience for the students. None of them were in these ensembles the last time we played at the Palladium, so the experience of performing in a venue this nice will be new to everyone,” said Todd McCready, Fishers High School director of concert bands. “It’s also rare that the students in our top ensembles get to hear each other do what they do best, as each department typically performs separate concerts, aside from this particular show, which is only in its third year.
“They are all looking forward to it and definitely feel a bit more pressure to perform as well as they can.”
The 200-plus students will perform concert literature spanning a range of historical periods and styles.
“The concert features single-gender and mixed choirs (Sound and Electrum), along with Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra,” McCready said. “It will be two halves with intermission, featuring one choir and one instrumental ensemble in each half.”
Work on the music began in February. With show choir in season until just a few weeks ago, students have been juggling both concert choir and show choir repertoire this semester.
“Each ensemble has held many rehearsals for this concert outside of school in addition to the time spent in class,” McCready said. “We’ve brought in local professional musicians and collegiate music educators to work with the kids. The main purpose of the concert is to perform the music that we are playing and singing for the ISSMA state qualifying contest, which happens the following weekend, and the music they have to perform for that event is very advanced.”
McCready said some of the selections come from a required list, and much of it is collegiate-level repertoire.
“It takes a lot of individual preparation as well as full-ensemble work to pull it off,” he said.
With very few live concerts in the last two-plus years, McCready said students usually feel a variety of emotions about performing.
“Excitement and anticipation for sure, but some also experience some performance anxiety to varying degrees,” he said. “At this point in the year, however, they are more experienced at performing than in the fall, especially those who have been in extracurricular ensembles, such as marching band or show choir. We hope that they also feel prepared enough musically to be confident in their performance.”
Although Fishers High School is a relatively young school (it was reestablished in 2006), the performing arts groups are quickly making a name for themselves in local, regional, and national performances.
“We are surrounded by schools that have a long history of excellent music programs. However, in recent years, the department has thrived, with many of the music ensembles consistently making state finals,” McCready said. “The marching band is a national semifinalist and was third at state finals this year. Sound, the women’s choir, won the show choir state title this year. Percussion groups have won state and national titles, and many of our musicians have received individual honors.”