Scheck Hillel Community School hosted its annual winter concert, presenting songs performed by the band, chorus, and orchestra. The Diener Athletic Complex was transformed into an auditorium made for listening to the musical tunes that the students played on December 5th, 2019. As always, the event was set up to present to parents how their kids are progressing musically by showcasing different songs performed by each section of the arts program. Faculty, students, parents, PTA members, alumni, and board members gather at the Athletic Center every year to enjoy a well-played performance directed by band director, Matthew Villa, and orchestra director, Angelica Losada; they both have incredible experience conducting which always improves the performances of the students playing.
This year, Mr. Villa conducted his second graduating class. Last year, the class of 2019 graduated from Scheck Hillel Community School, and they were the first year of students to have stayed with Mr. Villa since the beginning of his career at the school. At the Spring Concert last year, the students of the class of 2019 presented him with a plaque featuring a photograph of them and Mr. Villa, and they bought him a new conducting baton with an engraving regarding how they appreciate him as a teacher. Now, Mr. Villa has his second group of students who are graduating that have been with him since the start: the class of 2020. For Mr. Villa, the idea of having students sticking with him through every year of middle school and high school is incredible because it shows the dedication of each of the students.
This year, Joi Alon, Joshua Schmutter, Joseph Rimon, Eli Gelb, Jaime Acherman, Michael Berenstein, Benjamin Ratzker, and Elliot Shiro are all graduating, and they have been in the Scheck Hillel band since the beginning of their middle school experience. They have all stayed within the band because they enjoyed learning new songs to play while gaining experience on their instruments; however, it’s not only about the learning. “Mr. Villa and I have a really good relationship. I’m able to joke around with him, and it makes it more fun to be in his class,” states Eli Gelb regarding why he loves the band so much. “Of course, I love learning how to play my tenor saxophone, but the student-teacher relationship that goes on in the classroom makes for a better learning experience.” The reason why students tend to stay in the band program is that the teacher makes it exciting for them. An engaging class is always able to keep the attention of the students, and Mr. Villa is able to make band a fun, learning experience for everyone.
It is the class of 2020’s last winter concert which is a sorrow yet thrilling experience. They will be heading off to college where they can utilize their musical skills whether it’s in the marching band or concert band. When asked how he feels about playing in his last winter concert, Joshua Schmutter states, “It’s really sad how I’m going to be leaving the Scheck Hillel band. It feels like I’ve been here my entire life, and I’m not ready to leave. I am ready to play music in college, though, because I want to major in music, and I have to thank Mr. Villa for all of the learning he’s taught me.”
The concert, in short, was a success. All of the white chairs in the complex were filled, and every group that performed played to the best of their ability. The soloists in the band, Leonardo Bentata, Joi Alon, and Joshua Schmutter, played their parts very well and got the audience excited. Afterward, the class of 2020 became incredibly sad that this was their last Winter Concert; however, they still have their grand finale: the Spring Concert.