‘We’re Back!’ highlights instrumentals for first time since 2019

Beginning Band, Beginning Strings, Concert Band, Concert Strings, Symphonic Band and Middle School Symphony perform together in December


Nathan Wang '25

Middle school musicians perform on stage in the Saperstein Theater on Friday, Dec. 10.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Harvard-Westlake (HW) middle school musicians performed in Saperstein Theatre. Six groups performed including Beginning Band, Beginning Strings, Concert Band, Concert Strings, Symphonic Band and Middle School Symphony. 

The concert, named “We’re Back!”, was the first in-person winter musical since 2019’s “The Magic of Music.” Friends, family and musicians gathered in Saperstein Theatre. No tickets were required for guests to enter, however, non-HW affiliated guests had to show proof of vaccination.

“I think it’s just amazing to play in-person,” performing arts teacher Neli Nikolaeva said. “To have all [the students], families and friends gather and to be able to celebrate was a special moment.”

Performing arts teacher Starr Wayne shared a similar perspective.

“Being in-person and playing music with your friends is really special and it can be taken for granted until it’s taken away from you,” Wayne said. “I don’t think there is anyone who prefers to play music on Zoom.”

The six ensembles played a total of 21 songs. 

“We really focus on variety, diversity and interesting pieces that bring joy to the students … and the audience,” Nikolaeva said.

All musicians and conductors worked really hard for the final performance.

“My favorite part about preparing for the concert was the dress rehearsal the day before,” Concertmaster William Liu ’25 said. 

He said his favorite song was “Intermezzo” from Pietro Mascagni’s opera. 

Principal oboist Eric Lee ’25 said he liked “Russian Sailor’s Dance” because it was the most challenging.

Nikolaeva conducted Beginning Strings and Concert Strings. Wayne conducted Beginning Band, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band. Finally, dean and performing arts teacher Emily Reola conducted the Middle School Symphony.

Be on the lookout for the Big Band Jazz Concert on Friday, Feb. 4.