High school bands, chorus say aloha to spring

May 17, 2023

Wareham High School senior James Houghton, who plays the saxophone in the school’s jazz ensemble and jazz workshop, is known for performing pieces that one wouldn’t normally expect to hear at a school concert. 

At a concert in March, Houghton conducted the jazz ensemble in his own arrangement of “Cosmo Canyon,” a piece from the video game “Final Fantasy VII.” He conducted that same arrangement at the high school’s spring concert on Wednesday, May 17.

He also premiered his new arrangement of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” the theme song to the classic Japanese anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”

Students from the high school chorus, beginner band, advanced band, jazz workshop and jazz ensemble celebrated spring by performing in their best Hawaiian garb. Even Music Director Jason Roth wore a lei with his blazer and khakis. 

The music selection was diverse, encompassing not just video games and anime but gospel, spirituals, jazz standards, pop songs and movie themes. 

Houghton said that it took two years for the band to perfect “Sea Songs,” a medley of three tunes from the British Royal Navy.

“It has taken blood, sweat and mostly tears to complete this song,” he said. 

Senior Sophia Maniglia conducted the beginner band in “The Tempest” by Robert W. Smith and Hans Zimmer’s theme to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

 “These kids have been working their butts off with these two songs,” Maniglia said, “and I’m very glad at how far they’ve come along.”

The concert served as an opportunity for seniors to say their goodbyes, thanking Roth and their appreciative audience. 

“We’re not gonna be here next year, God willing,” Houghton said about himself and his senior class. “From me, personally, thank you so much. I love all of you.”

“I have made so many memories from eighth grade up,” said senior Wendy Sut, “and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I basically lived in the band room this year, and I wish I had more [band] classes, but I think Mr. Roth is tired of me.”

Roth has spent his entire high school career with this year’s graduating class. When he first became music director at the high school, they were eighth graders. His eyes growing teary, he individually thanked each of the seniors and congratulated them for their musical accomplishments. 

“This is a very emotional moment,” he said.