Get Ready For Vacation! East’s Pre-Break Events

Photographs by Mariam Abd-Elhamid, Jamie Smith. Collage by Angelina Tang

By Angelina Tang

Spring break is rapidly approaching, and at this point, most students have their eyes on the prize of no school on March 29th. There are many events happening at East before then, though! To help pass the time, we will be briefly covering a handful of them.

The Spring Charity Dance

On Friday, March 22nd, the Student Council will be hosting the East Spring Charity Dance from 6-10 PM in the gym. All East students are welcome to attend, and tickets can be purchased for $10.00 in the Main Office. Pizza and snacks will be provided by the PTSA throughout the evening, and the dance will be DJ’d by Jaydence.

The dance also acts as a fundraiser for donations to one of four charities. Each class office has selected a charity to support–freshmen are supporting the Buffalo Children’s Hospital, sophomores are supporting Journey’s End Refugee Services, juniors are supporting Habitat for Humanity, and seniors are supporting St. Jude Children’s Hospital. All of the proceeds from the dance will go to the charity of the class who buys the most tickets.

Alex Kwon, the Student Council president, gave some insight on why East is doing this new event this year. He says, “We were inspired by other schools, like South, who did similar events. The added bonus of using friendly competition between the classes to generate profit for charity was also a big push!” 

It may come as a surprise, though, that the idea of a spring dance is not a novel idea at East. Mrs. Yermas states that up to about 15-20 years ago, a winter or spring dance would always be held at East, but there would be a shortage of teachers to chaperone the event as inappropriate dancing and “Go home, Teachers” chants would run rampant there. It got to the point where teachers were “boycotting the event,” she said. The dance, as such, went off the calendar; when they tried to bring it back sometime around 2017, student interest had already diminished, so it never really got going again. Mrs. Yermas says that she hopes the charity incentive will help bring some support for the spring dance back to East!

Music Concerts

All three components of East’s fantastic music department are working hard to prepare for their upcoming concerts. There will be a chorus concert on Tuesday, March 19th, as well as an orchestra side-by-side concert with Transit Middle on Tuesday, March 26th. There will also be the District High School Wind Ensemble Festival that East’s Wind Ensemble is attending at Williamsville South High School on Wednesday, March 27th. All three concerts will be at 7 P.M. on their respective days.

The chorus concert on March 19th is packed with amazing music, with all three East choruses performing in addition to Vocal Jazz, soloists, and small groups. The Choraleers will be performing “Ikan Kekek” as arranged by Yu Hang Tan and “Lunar Lullaby” by Jacob Narverud. Mixed Chorus will be performing “Come Travel With Me” by Scott Farthing and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder as arranged by Roger Emerson. Chorale will be performing “Zion’s Walls” by Aaron Copland as arranged by Glenn Koponen, “Where Your Bare Foot Walks” by David M. Childs, and “Ritmo” by Dan Davison. Finally, all three choruses will be performing a combined piece together called “Tshotsholoza,” a traditional South African song as adapted by Jeffery L. Ames.

In addition, Vocal Jazz will take the stage with “Walk a Mile” by Pepper Choplin as arranged by Mark Hayes, as well as “Somewhere” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, as arranged by William Stickles. A small group of students will be performing “My Heart is Offered Still to You” by Orlando Lassus. A vocal duet by Maise Cohan and Ella Hinklin will also perform Rubinstein’s “O Weary Soul,” and vocal solos by Sarah Patti and Robin Solazzo will feature “Do Not Go, My Love” by Richard Hageman and Debussy’s “Beau Soir” respectively. With such a large variety of music, the concert is sure to be an incredible show. If you happen to be free, head to the concert to support your classmates!

The orchestra concert on March 26th will showcase both East orchestras and the Transit 7/8 Orchestra. The 7th and 8th graders will be playing “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst, as well as “Mission to Mars” by Ennio Morricone. Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing “Capriol Suite” by Peter Warlock and Shostakovich’s “Waltz no. 2.” They will also be playing with some of the band to perform “The Great Locomotive” by Robert W. Smith. Symphonic Orchestra, joined by Wind Ensemble, will be playing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6 “Pathétique” and “Conga del Fuego Nuevo” by Arturo Márquez. The full orchestra will also be featuring cellist Li Tang for their senior solo, “Concerto in e minor” by Edward Elgar. Li says that they are nervous, but also very excited for the performance! Finally, all of the string players from all three orchestras will take the stage together to play “Mock Morris” by Percy Grainger. It’s sure to be a festive night, so come by and cheer on your peers while also seeing who will take on the future of East.

The District High School Wind Ensemble Festival on March 27th–unfortunately the day right after the orchestra concert for our Wind Ensemble folks–will feature performances by East, North, and South’s bands. The concert will be at South High School and is sponsored by the Williamsville Music Boosters.This festival happens every other year with a guest composer and/or conductor; this year, Dr. Stephen Peterson is being brought in. Peterson has conducted and taught music across the U.S., and he was a band director at the University of Illinois from 2015 to 2022. He has taught at many universities throughout his 43-year-long career, and he is a member of the American Bandmasters Association Board of Directors, in addition to being a past president of the College Band Directors National Association.

The festival will feature a variety of band music. East’s Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Buckley, will be performing “Sogno di Volare” by Christopher Tin as arranged by Matt Conaway, and “Prelude, Siciliano, and Rondo” by Malcolm Arnold as arranged by John Paynter. Dr. Peterson will then conduct “Chorale and Shaker Dance” by John Zdechlik. North’s Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Conte, will perform “Armenian Dances Part 1” by Alfred Reed, and Dr. Peterson will conduct “Elixir” by Michael Markowski. South’s Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Cool, will perform “SLAVA!” by Leonard Bernstein, and Dr. Peterson will conduct “Vesuvius” by Frank Tichelli. It’s not every day that you get to play under a nationally acclaimed conductor–this festival is an event any music enthusiast would run to attend.

Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse

The total solar eclipse will be on Monday, April 8th, and the district is providing materials for students to fully enjoy it! Students will receive viewing packets on Wednesday, March 20th, including two pairs of solar eclipse viewing glasses and a flyer. Staff will receive viewing packets the week of March 25th, including one pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses and a flyer. Total solar eclipses are only visible on Earth about every 375 years, and for this to happen over Buffalo in our lifetime is even rarer. Remember, do not look at the eclipse without proper eye protection. Normal sunglasses won’t cut it. Stay safe and have fun!

General Academic Reminders

The third marking period will be coming to a close on April 12th. As such, grades are pretty much closed by spring break, so it’s time to lock in. In addition, seniors can look forward to most of their regular decision results coming out before the end of the month! Ivy Day is March 28th, and Decision Day is, as always, May 1st. We wish you all good luck with your results.

With so much going on at school, the long haul to break and exam season just behind it is sure to be a quick one. As the weather warms up, stay safe and have fun, everybody!