Winter Guitar and Piano Concert

Guitars, pianos, and Mercier’s puns make Menchville’s Winter Concert unique


Laura Madler

The night began and ended with performances by Menchville’s guitar groups.

Laura Madler, Editor-in-Chief

Students, families, and friends gathered in the auditorium Tuesday night, December 19th, for a cozy and holiday cheer-filled concert by Menchville’s guitar and piano students. The musicians- led by Piano and Guitar director, Pete Mercier- delighted those in attendance with numbers spanning genres from jazz to folk rock, international to classical, and holiday favorites. The familiar tunes and Mercier’s pun-filled repartee with the audience created a holiday musical experience that the audience was sure to enjoy.

The night started off with performances by Menchville’s Intermediate Guitar Ensemble. Students played Now Let Us to the Bagpipes SoundLes Barricades Misterieuses, and O Come All Ye Faithful. The pieces were coupled with histories of the music and anecdotes from Mercier’s guitar classes.

After the Intermediate Ensemble exited the stage, Junior Sam Cornette performed solo. Cornette is a two-time participant in the All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble, and one of the first participants in the program from the Tidewater area. He performed an arrangement of Amazing Grace by Stuart Ryan and Shenandoah, both of which were met with rousing applause from the audience.

The concert then diverted to the piano portion of the evening. Four students performed solo piano pieces onstage, including: Waltz in A Minor– Paige Lawler, Do You Hear What I Hear?– Dori Ras, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas– Matthew Swetnam. The last performance was Per Loquace, played by Anthony Sales, who composed the piece himself.

The stage was then taken by Brandon Jackson, who performed Eric Clapton’s hit, Tears in Heaven. The emotional ballad was introduced by Mercier, who dedicated the performance to honor the memory of beloved Menchville basketball coach, Ben Moore. The audience was silent as Jackson strummed and sang before breaking into applause at the end of the song, and everyone thought the song a fitting dedication to Moore.

The night closed with performances by Menchville’s Advanced Guitar Ensemble. The group played Night in TunisiaIn a Sentimental MoodCalifornia DreaminRussian Dance (from “The Nutcracker”)Strum Ye Merry Gentlemen, and Wizards in Winter. The selections started with jazz and classic rock, eventually moving into holiday classics. The last piece of the evening, Wizards in Winter, featured two electric guitars, in addition to the acoustic ensemble, and was arranged by Sophomore Michael Garrett. The spirited holiday pieces concluded the evening by leaving hands clapping and smiles on the faces of all who heard the concert.