Wauwatosa East Orchestras Perform Spring Concert


Audrey Catlin

The Wauwatosa East Orchestras performed their annual spring concert on May 11th in the Dale K. Hidde Theater. The concert featured performances by the three East orchestras, as well as an appearance by the Tosa East Fiddle Club and a Senior Spotlight recognizing the graduating orchestra students of 2022.

“My favorite part about the concert tonight truly is the diversity of music, how selections connect to each other, and of course, how well all students are playing,” said orchestra teacher and conductor Michael Hayden. 

As is tradition with all of East’s orchestra concerts, fiddle club performed three songs for the audience using traditional orchestral string instruments and more unique instruments such as the mandolin.

“I really enjoy being a part of fiddle because we get to play and experience a lot of different kinds of music…It’s also really fun because we can pick the music that we want to play, and teach the entire group new songs. I’m really really sad that this is my last year and I’m definitely gonna miss being able to jam every Friday morning,” stated senior Abby Volland.

The theme of the concert was the Music of Opera, which was especially seen through Concert Orchestra’s performance of The Barber of Seville, Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Nessun Dorma, and Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Phantom of the Opera.

Nessun Dorma featured a vocal performance by Joe Schmidt, a voice major at the University of Milwaukee. He received a standing ovation for his execution of what Hayden called “one of the hardest arias for tenor voice”. Mr. Schmidt’s involvement was a surprise for many in the audience. 

“It was super cool to see him sing the whole song…My jaw dropped during the whole performance,” said junior Luli Perez.

The Spring Orchestra Concert was also the world premier of Milwaukee-based composer and musician Barry Paul Clark’s song “Lesser Known Phases”, written for the Chamber Orchestra. 

“Working with Barry Clark for this entire year, through the generosity of the EFW and Orchestra Parents of Tosa East, has helped me grow as a musician and educator,” stated Hayden. Barry Paul Clark introduced his piece to the audience at the concert, stating “this piece of music wouldn’t exist without these folks [the chamber students] on stage. They provided a lot of the musical content…and the inspiration to put it all together.”

As the Grande Finale, Phantom of the Opera was performed by the Symphony Orchestra class and members of the Tosa East band. The song involved multiple production elements, including a fog machine and lighting changes. 

“We matched the lighting design to the developing tone and build of Phantom”, said Reaghan Powers, orchestra student and co-designer of the concert lighting effects.

“This concert really was a collaborative effort with students in orchestra, band, and theatre. I was blown away with how Phantom of the Opera sounded and looked on stage,” Hayden said. Soloists from both the orchestra and band were featured in the performance. 

The future of Wauwatosa East Orchestra concerts will likely display a continuing collaboration between Orchestra and the other arts and music departments in the school.

“I hope that all of us can continue to find unique ways to collaborate in the future,” Hayden said. In addition to continued collaboration within Wauwatosa East, Hayden stated that he hoped the collaboration with Barry Paul Clark and Joe Schmidt “is the start of our work with incredible Milwaukee based musicians.”

A recording of the full concert is available on the East Orchestra Parents YouTube account.