What My Father Thinks: Mega Concert Edition

The band at the mega concert. Photography provided by Ian Gollub.

The band at the mega concert. Photograph taken by band parent Rick Read.

The air was already sticky with late May humidity and the body heat from hundreds of parents, friends, and siblings settling onto the gym bleachers. For those readers who have only seen athletic events played in the gym, this would have been a novel experience. The gym floor was covered in chairs, risers, and music stands; teenagers perched on the edges of their seats while they tuned their instruments and waited for the audience to quiet. From the very beginning, the annual Mega Concert, affectionately dubbed “Mega” by the students, established itself as a concert unlike any other.

While I could describe each note of the almost two hour long performance in painstaking detail, I have decided to cover this event in a slightly unconventional way. On the way home from the concert, I asked my father, a man far more musically knowledgeable than myself, to give me his honest opinions of the concert and the individual pieces. As I listened, I realized that my father’s opinion was more insightful and entertaining than anything I could write on my own. What can I say: I’m just not as witty as my middle aged patriarch.

So, in lieu of the traditional review, here are my father’s thoughts on Mega:

Disclaimer: These opinions are frank, candid, and recounted with a sense of humor by a man who was truly impressed by the amount of talent at the concert. My father did not imagine that they would be published, and therefore we will remain anonymous.

Selections from The Phantom of the Opera: To be fair, my father did not enter the room to actually experience this one. He has been fed up with Phantom for approximately 40 years and says “when I heard the opening notes, I turned around and looked at the student artwork. That was very nice.” My father is referring to the Student Art Exhibit outside the gym. I will take his word for the quality of the works. As for Phantom, it was very well played but My. Goodness. Gracious. It went on for approximately one whole decade. By the end, I am pretty sure my face looked like Phantom’s without the mask.

Down By the Riverside: I am pretty sure that the barbershop quartet sextet got instant points with my father for the name: The Faltones. Despite a collection of hats that looked like they may also belong to my fashion-challenged grandfather (my father will “let that go” as “they needed to have the hats”), he thought that “Down By the Riverside” was great. It was super brave and they [the Faltones] pulled it off.” So kudos to Mr. Falcone and the Falconettes for their success.

Old Reinlender from Sonndala: This was definitely my father’s favorite. I’ll admit it… it was probably mine too. My father had absolutely no quips to make about this performance. Flawlessly executed, “it was brilliant. That song – it was hard to believe I was listening to that in a high school gym.” The Chamber Music Ensemble is incredibly and obviously disciplined and passionate. Their work reflects those qualities beautifully.

Little of Your Love: “That was fine.” He doesn’t love a cappella. No slight to any of the performers.

Music from La La Land: This was perfectly pleasant. A little bit like a lullaby, but not in a bad way. Says my father: “I loved the timpani drums; that was my favorite part of the string orchestra. Maybe I don’t like La La Land music as much as I should?” Again, we agreed that it was very well played.

Perfect: “That was fine, too. There was no snapping. I liked that.”

Africa and Blink: Mr. Gollub managed to turn an unlikely song into one of the standout pieces of the concert. Africa was true to the original song and vivacious. Everyone was on their A-game and “Africa was outstanding.” As for Blink, “I don’t even remember that they played another song after Africa. Africa was so good. I wish they’d just played Africa again!” It was not that Blink was not good. I guess Africa was just that much better.

The Luckiest: Quite different from Footnotes’ previous foray into the world of musical theater’s Footloose, “The Luckiest” was quite soft and melodic. My father’s reaction to this one surprised me: “Luckiest grew on me. At first I was like “Ok,” but as it went on I became pretty touched by it. It was a nice song.” Maybe he was just relieved it was not more Phantom. Either way, he liked it.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: “That was fine..” I’m noticing an acapella trend here…

Daydream Believer: Ah, the Senior Song. As always, very sentimental. The song choice was interesting. My father wondered “How was it picked? Did they vote? What is that system?” However, he did admit that the song “was cute” and that “criticizing that song is like criticizing kittens.” To be perfectly transparent, my father is allergic to cats. So do with that what you will.

Ms. Otis Regrets and Soul Vaccination: My father is a very big fan of jazz. We have two Coltrane posters in our basement (and those are only the ones that I know of). He enjoyed the Jazz Band and their performance; more specifically, he adored Ms. Otis Regrets. Says my father, “Ms. Otis Regrets- everything about that song was perfect. The clarinet solo, the trio of singers, that was terrific.” He especially enjoyed the vocals, and was thoroughly impressed, as was I, to find out that the clarinet soloist is a freshman. He also enjoyed the organ solo in Soul Vaccination, stating that “the organ solo was really smoking,” and “as good as the clarinet solo, at least.” And that is saying something.

The Jabberwocky and the Beatles Medley: By the end of the concert, my father, like the entire audience, was hot and beginning to wilt. Despite the heat, he thought that “the Jabberwocky was fun. I was charmed.” He also enjoyed the Beatles Medley, saying “the highlight of the Beatles Medley was no doubt Eleanor Rigby.” He partially credited this to the Chamber Music Ensemble’s excellent musicianship, noting that “the Chorus rose to the challenge of the String Ensemble.” He appreciated the relative brevity of the pieces compared to those of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living.

On the drive home, my father looked over at me and smiled. He said, “I know I shouldn’t be surprised, because I saw that same caliber of music being played at the middle school when you were there, but that was incredible.” Despite taking issue with some of the music choices, he was impressed, and I was too.  Congratulations to everyone who took part in the concert. Hanover High, you never fail to show the world how hardworking and talented your students are.

The chorus at the mega concert. Photograph provided by Ian Gollub.

The chorus at the mega concert. Photograph taken by band parent Rick Read.


Correction: “The Luckiest” was not an a cappella performance. The article previously and incorrectly said it was. 

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