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Surround Sound

While students likely know the typical Michael Buble and Mariah Carey holiday tunes almost by heart, the Maine West Fine Arts Department has a different type of holiday music in mind. Students from all areas of the music department will collaborate to produce the holiday Prism Concert on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.

The concert is a full music department production including all the band, choir and orchestra curricular and extra-curricular ensembles. There are many factors that make this performance an unforgettable one. “It’s a continuous 90-minute concert that bounces around the auditorium from place to place, and style of music, or ensemble back and forth. There is no applause during the show, so that it becomes what we call a tapestry of music,” director of bands Bernie Gerstmayr said.

This tapestry consists of a variety of arrangements and styles of music performed by a variety of ensembles. However, “the concert consists of mainly holiday music that is cheery and not sad,” sophomore Claire Faust said.

Despite being mainly composed of holiday music, “I think that this concert would still be enjoyable to people who don’t prefer holiday music because it’s still great to hear friends perform for you, and put forth all of their best effort to entertain you,” junior Shaira Pascua said.

While many aspects of this concert are different from traditional concerts, that is what many people find most enjoyable. “My favorite part of Prism is the finale when the entire department does ‘Stille Nacht’ and ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth’. I think it’s a moment in the concert that is unifying for both the performers and the audience, and it’s the only time when everyone is doing something musical.” Fine Arts department chair Patrick Barnett said.

The finale is Faust’s favorite, too, because “it really gets me in the Christmas mood.” Unlike many concerts where each ensemble performs separately, at the end of the Prism concert, all the ensembles combine together to fill the auditorium and sing “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

The positioning of the performers and the collective performances set this show apart from other concerts held throughout the year. “Prism is a smoke and mirrors show; while one group is setting up, another group is already performing. The audience is distracted by the greatness of the music around them,” Gerstmayr said.

“This concert attracts all ages, and a lot of our community comes back for this concert; even when their sons and daughters graduate, they continue to come back. We get former students that come back, all the way down to some middle school kids too,” Barnett said.

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