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Ballard Performing Arts Collage Concert Presents a Musical Virtual Smorgasbord of Nonstop Talent  

January 22, 2021 at 7 p.m.

The Ballard High School music program has been busy recording and mixing a virtual concert that showcases over a dozen ensembles in a wide variety of styles and that promises to offer a little something for everyone. The free performance airs online Friday, January 22 at 7 p.m.

“It will be a nonstop evening featuring an incredible range of performances from our music ensembles,“ says Courtney Rowley, director of choirs.

Performance Details - Program 

The concert will be a collection of videos recorded by students in 3 orchestras, 6 band ensembles, and 4 choirs. In preparation for the concert, students rehearsed in virtual ensembles using the Upbeat music app, funded by generous donations from BPA families and supporters. The music directors hired professional expertise for audio mixing and video post-production for the concert, assuring high quality in showcasing the talent of these musicians A link to the performance will be posted on this page on January 22nd.



Four choirs will perform, under the direction of Choir Director Courtney Rowley:

  • Treble choir will perform Al Shlosha D’Varim by Allan E. Naplan. The song is a lyrical setting of the popular maxim from Pirkei Avot (Jewish morality laws), which translated from Hebrew means: The world is sustained by three things: by truth, by justice, and by peace.

  • Advanced Chorale will perform Where there is Light in the Soul by Elizabeth Alexander, a setting of the popular Chinese proverb of the same name, attributed to the philosopher Confucius.

  • Concert Choir will perform Bawo Thixo Somandla, a South African protest song widely sung during the Apartheid years. The song was written by Mxolisi Matyila, a political dissident during the Apartheid regime, and arranged for choirs by Sidumo Nyamezele. “Concert Choir was honored to invite guest artist Sabelo Mthembu, a choir director and singer from Johannesburg, South Africa into our class in October,” notes Rowley. “Sabelo was a former student of the arranger of the piece and is a celebrated choral musician in his country. He coached us the pronunciation and meaning of the Xhosa text, talked about choral music in South Africa during apartheid, and about the continuing fight for social justice today.”

  • Vocal Jazz will present Let’s Try This Again, by Josh Nelson and Sara Gazarek, and arranged by Dave Cross. Seattle born jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek is “one of the leading voices of our time,” Rowley says. Now based in Los Angeles where she teaches on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music, Sara also serves as the executive director of the DeMiero Jazz Fest, which Vocal Jazz is participating virtually in throughout this school year.



Three orchestra ensembles will perform, under the direction of Orchestra Director Elizabeth Fortune:

  • Concert Orchestra will play Besame Mucho by Consuelo Velázquez, arranged by Renata Bratt.

  • Symphonic Orchestra will perform Tango Loco by Reynard Burns.

  • Chamber Orchestra in collaboration with the Seattle Pacific University Orchestra will play Toada e Desafio by Arthur Barbosa.

Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra videos were compiled and  produced by Brad Hawkins. The Chamber Orchestra and SPU Orchestra video was compiled and produced by SPU Orchestra Director Professor Christopher Hanson.


Six band ensembles will perform, under the direction of Interim Band Director Jay Gillespie:

  • Concert Band will play April by Aaron Perrine. A finalist in the Frank Tichelli composition contest, this piece is a musical depiction of the efflorescence of spring. “It is lyrical and expressive,” says Gillespie, “while being accessible to our junior ensemble.”

  • Symphonic Band will play Greenwillow Portrait by Mark Williams. “It’s a beautiful melodic ballad scored in the British folksong style,” remarks Gillespie.

  • Wind Ensemble will play Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb for Military Band – Movement 3: March. “This is quintessential wind band literature,” says Gillespie. This piece features separately, and then combines and layers both a classic march and a beautiful flowing melody featured in the brass section.

  • Percussion Ensemble will play a student-arranged medley of their favorite drumline cadences: C-1, B-Bass, and Topsy.

  • Jazz 1, directed by Gillespie and Jazz instructor Trevor Parrish, will play When You’re Smiling arranged by Tom Kubis. “This chart is fantastic!” exclaims Gillespie. A popular 1928 Tin Pan Alley song and favorite among jazz musicians, Tom Kubis writes it as a slow swing which became an immediate classic in jazz ensemble literature. This performance features James Shepard on Trumpet.

  • Jazz 2, directed by Parrish, will play Blue Seven by Sonny Rollins. It’s a medium blues written by the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins and was featured on his historical album Saxophone Colossus. This is a simple arrangement with some backgrounds and counter melodies and will feature several student solos.


Contact info

Courtney Rowley, Ballard High School Director of Choirs:

Elizabeth Fortune, Ballard High School Director of Orchestras:

Jay Gillespie, Ballard High School Interim Band Director:

Phone: 206-252-1000


Ballard Performing Arts publicity contact: Roxanne Kenison, Ballard Performing Arts Board publicist; 206-660-8868  

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