A Musical End to the School Year: Reflections on the Bronx Science 2023 Spring Concert

The Bronx Science Music Department gave a spectacular Spring Concert as a testament to the ensembles’ fierce dedication, rich community, and wonderful composure.


Jacey Mok

Pictured is the trumpet section of Concert Band.

A slew of musicians file into the auditorium with instruments in hand. The brass saxophones twinkle in the sunshine emanating from the lobby. The Jazz Band has entered.

A medley of harmonizing instruments calls you into the auditorium. A terrific saxophone solo serenades you into awe; the distinct trill prompts fascination and is hard to ignore. Students sit around the auditorium, enjoying the live music during their free periods or study hall and making up an interim audience. The band concludes the piece to an outcry of applause from the audience.

On May 30th and May 31st, 2023, the Bronx Science Music Department held their annual Spring Concert, featuring Bronx Science’s four ensembles: Jazz Band, Chorus, Concert Band, and Orchestra. The four ensembles persevered through the stresses of midterms, A.P. Exam season, and ‘senioritis’ in order to prepare for the concert.

Each ensemble practices every day to sharpen their performance, even rehearsing during study hall. The ensembles showed up once more for another fantastic Spring Concert, as one last hurrah for the graduating seniors.

To watch the full recording of the Spring Concert, courtesy of Lux Abrajan López ’26, click on the video above. 

Jazz Band

As with the other ensembles, the Jazz Band has spent months preparing for the concert. As the smallest instrumental ensemble, the band program allows room for many soloists to shine. 

Right before their performance, Jazz Band can be heard chanting ‘JAZZ, JAZZ, JAZZ’ in unison on the elevator ride to the auditorium. The longstanding elevator tradition takes place before every concert and hypes them up before their performance. It establishes a sense of community before the ensemble performs together on stage. 

“I’m so excited to showcase our skills. This is what we’ve been working the entire year for,” said Cecilia Beauchamp ’25.

To kick off the Spring Concert, the Jazz Band took the stage. Their opening song was “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock (0:23-3:00), which was the perfect opening song. They stayed true to jazz’s often improvisational style while remaining cohesive. The Jazz Band’s songs started the concert with an inviting groove that encouraged the audience to loosen up.

The Jazz Band displayed the clear breadth of their talent, switching from breezy songs like “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by Josef Zawinul (13:20-16:01) to the thrilling “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard (5:51-10:28). Regarding the latter, the band made an impact on the audience and captivated them with not only the ominous piano solo, but also the fantastic drum solo. 

The band’s rendition of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” was like a jazzy walk on the beach and alluded to the upcoming summer break. It was a unique song and was one of my favorites from the Jazz Band’s program. The trumpet solos fit the piece perfectly, and the song’s structure gave them the chance to truly shine. It was sweet and sensational, particularly the chorus and trumpet solos, all with the sound of the tambourine keeping tempo in the background. The transitions between solos were seamless and the entire band worked well together to create a spectacular finale song. 


Every day during third period, the hallway outside of the music room is flooded with the melodic voices of the choir. Choir rehearsals are always overflowing with hugs, laughter, and the warmth of friendship. 

Before they started singing, the choir and Mr. DeSilva discussed the program order: mixing it up with fast and slow songs. After settling the order, the choir stands in two rows, as the piano accompanists start a cheery jingle for the intro of “Two of a Kind.” by Bobby Darin (21:36-23:41). 

“Peas in a pod, birds of a feather, we’re two of a kind…”

The wholesome lyrics are reminiscent of the choir’s friendships – such as that of sopranos Kailyn Cai ’26, Natalie Shon ’24, and Elisa Chang ’24, who sit together in the back row. Choir allows the trio to bond over singing together every day. Singing with others is correlated with better mental wellbeing, so it is no surprise that the choir is a joyful bunch.

“I think chorus represents a special group of people in my life that I can explore my passion with. In that sense, it’s a unique space in Bronx Science,” said tenor singer Zachary Meryn ’25.

For days, the catchy tune “Two of a kind, for your information” was still singing in my head long after leaving. Their voices flooded the room with a sweet sense of joy, pandering every listener with the same happiness that the choirists felt. The choirists seemed elated to sing together, which added a touch of wonder to their performance and afflicted the audience with the same lovely passion. 

The choir’s program consisted of five songs, each beautiful and captivating in its own way. From songs of reminiscent love like “Beyond the Sea” by A. Lasry & C. Trenet (16:28-18:12) to hopeful songs about belonging like “Go the Distance” by Alan Menkin (26:46-29:56), the choir sang tales of love, consolation, and perseverance. Tallulah Sarig ’24 had a powerful, distinguishable voice that upheld the alto section as the altos sang, “I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance.”

The choir continually made effective use of their vocal ranges, especially in “Gift To Sing” by Timothy M. Powell (18:12-21:35), where their soothing voices harmonized wonderfully. The voices of the altos and sopranos overlaid the tenor and bass sections, knitting together into delightful harmony. The subtle piano tune in the background created a fitting mood for each song. The song allowed for different sections and individual singers to shine. 

Whether on stage or in the music room, the choir sang with amazing composure and depth that truly showed the high level of collaboration and understanding between the ensemble. It was clear that the choir was made up of not just individual singers, but one choir that has bonded together throughout the year. 

Concert Band

After my A.P. test, I thought of no better way to spend my afternoon than to poke around and take notes during one of Concert Band’s rehearsals for research purposes. Concert Band is much larger than Jazz Band and has brass, percussion, and woodwind instruments; Jazz Band mainly consists of rhythm and horn sections. Jazz Band plays, well, jazz music, while Concert Band is known for their renditions of hit songs and music from popular shows and movies alongside other diverse music types.

The atmosphere of the Concert Band is unique. It is clear that the band is made up of a strong community of students and there are personal connections that knit the band together into one united force. 

“For me, Concert Band is a place to grow, both as a musician and as a person,” said Concertmaster Emily Hsieh ’24. It is fun and energetic, yet they take their practices seriously, which is evident through their marvelous, crowd-pleasing performances. “I’m so proud of how far everyone has come in their musical abilities! The improvement is palpable each time I step in the room 8th period … though I’m sad that the year is coming to a close so quickly, I’m incredibly grateful for all that has happened,” continued Hsieh.

Weeks later, the Concert Band walked onto the stage to a vivacious crowd, the audience erupted into cheers. Concert Band always has a thrilling stage presence – a vitality resounding within the audience. They made a drum roll effect by tapping their feet to applaud the entrance of director Mr. Mantilla. At his gesture, the entire band raised their instruments to playing position. 

They began their performance with “Sundance” by Carl Strommen (30:48-34:17), which combined smooth sailing tunes with moments featuring upbeat percussion. The flutes sounded beautiful and were a charming element of the song. Their notes were clear and distinct, even in the flowing crescendos. 

After easing the audience in, Concert Band began cooking up a frenzy with “The Great Locomotive Chase,” by Robert W. Smith (34:20-39:07). During this magnificent piece, the band sounded exactly like a train thundering down the rails – the affinity was mind-blowing. The beginning of the piece caught the audience off guard by its loudness, followed by intermittent silence. The drama of the piece heightened the audience’s fight-or-flight instinct, coupled with the flutes that sounded eerily like mythical sirens. 

“My favorite song from the Spring Concert was “The Great Locomotive Chase.” They genuinely sounded like a train,” said Monica Reilly ’24.

At one point, the players started saying “Shhhhh” in unison, creating a surreal effect. The band was flawless. They made effective use of volume, silence, and had amazing composure. “The Great Locomotive Chase” was truly a musical masterpiece.

Afterwards, the band opted for the familiar, joyous melodies from the famous movie Up, which stole the hearts of the audience. Throughout their program order, Concert Band had seamless transitions and brief breaks between songs. Although, it made it harder to differentiate between songs, it was another display of what Concert Band does best: keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. 


Orchestra rehearses everyday during fourth period, which happens to be my lunch period. I have since taken liberties with snooping around and photographing the orchestra during their rehearsals. As a first-hand witness, I can testify that their Spring Concert performance was excellent beyond my expectations. I always have high expectations for the orchestra and they almost always succeed. 

Boaz Lim ’24 was a former clarinet player for the orchestra until the Spring semester when he had to retire to health class. But he did not let that stop him. Upon asking his health teacher, he was permitted to attend Orchestra rehearsals once a week to practice for the Spring Concert. This time, he picked up percussion after years of being on hiatus.

“There’s always a feeling of nervousness before any concert, but unlike any other, there is an immense excitement … Especially in those mere minutes before we walk on stage – hearts racing and hands sweaty – you‘re able to experience a genuine, wholesome connection that leaves you ready to perform like never before. I always await that moment, that special feeling, that comes with any concert,” said Boaz Lim ’24.

To start their performance, Concertmaster Chrissy Jung ’24 stood before the orchestra to tune their instruments together as a formality. A medley of different instruments overflowed the stage. 

Throughout their performance, the violin section played as one cohesive force. Coupled with the violins’ dominance on the stage, they were a prominent part of each of the pieces. I especially liked the violin and the percussion in “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46” by Edvard Grieg (51:37-57:02), which helped to build drama in the piece; the fast build-up from the percussion caught the audience’s attention. 

The orchestra created heightened storylines through their music.

The large size of the orchestra allows them to have more depth in their pieces. In “Bacchanale” by Camille Saint-Saens (57:03-1:06:24), the piece sounded like a military battle, their notes sung stories of battle, hardships, and eventual triumph. They had the power to tell stories through their music, granting the audience the freedom to interpret the muses. Since the ensemble consists mostly of string instruments, their personality and dramatic notes were emphasized all the more in their bowing movements.

My favorite piece was “Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80” by Johannes Brahms (1:06:24-1:15:22). The piece constantly morphed into different rhythms and melodies. It sounded like a mesh of various different pieces into one gorgeous conglomerate. From the call and response style in the beginning to its transition into a quick and chirpy tune, it was a delightful surprise at the turn of every measure.

The orchestra had, by far, the longest program out of the four ensembles. After their final piece, the ensemble stood up and received widespread applause from the audience. With the orchestra’s finale, the Spring Concert came to a close.


The Spring Concert was a hit with the crowd and attracted hundreds of students, parents, and faculty. My sincerest compliments go to the ensembles and their directors, Mr. Mantilla and Mr. DeSilva. 

Shortly after the Spring Concert, the Bronx Science Foundation hosted the 85th Anniversary Gala in the American Museum of Natural History to raise money for the school’s extracurricular programs. Chorus and Jazz Band made a special appearance at the gala – a handful of Orchestra and Concert Band players auditioned to play with Jazz Band as well.  

On June 4th, 2023, the Jazz Band played again in the music room for Alumni Day, performing for alumni who had graduated three or thirty years ago. They rearranged the seating to face the open doorway as curious alumni came in to hear them. 

As the sound of music bounced off the walls of the music room, the band sounded fantastic. I stayed for several songs, and the words “just one more song” kept me locked in my seat. Despite having heard Jazz Band numerous times during their rehearsals, hearing them up close and personal was a special treat. 

For many senior ensemble members, this year’s Spring Concert marked the end of their journeys of being part of Bronx Science’s Music Department. They have left remnants of their contributions to the ensembles. Tactful, pre-concert Uno games will not be the same without them, nor will their respective sections quite have the radiant personality of flute player Yvonne Fong ’23 or the serenity of cello player Anna Hsu ’23, and many other seniors.

“So many people of all grades and all walks of life have built such joyful, long-lasting friendships thanks to this class; I guess it’s just the beauty of music,” said Hsieh.

Musicians of the class of 2023, you will be dearly missed. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Jazz Band, Chorus, Concert Band, and Orchestra; the Music Department will not be the same without you! A bittersweet farewell and congratulations for capping the year on a high note – pun intended.

“To me, Orchestra is a community that feels like home. Music in itself is a means of comfort, with every harmony producing a strain of elegance and joy, but the social aspect of orchestra brings it to a new level. Laughter is shared in and out of rehearsals, and lifelong friendships are made, all the while producing a melodious tune,” said Boaz Lim ’24.