Prism Concert: The Secret of the Rose Revealed

Matthias Jaylen ’24
On Tuesday, April 11, the Department of Performing Arts held its annual Prism concert, directed by performing arts teacher Curt Ebersole, in Estherwood.

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The theme for this year’s concert was “The Secret of the Rose.” As the title suggests, there were a lot of questions and mystery surrounding the theme. Even the 28 performers were kept in the dark and had no idea what the secret was until the day of the performance. 
Multiple ensembles, including the Upper School’s String Ensemble and Chamber Music class, and the Middle School Orchestra, performed throughout the evening. 
The performance was divided into a Prism concert format, where the audience began seated in the library for four selections, moved to the music and dining rooms for five selections, then to the foyer for the final two selections. There were different ensembles performing in different rooms of Estherwood, where the audience could move from room to room listening to the different music without interruption.
One of the highlights for Ebersole was watching the String Ensemble play a very difficult piece. He said, “I was especially proud of the String Ensemble’s performance of ‘Red Rhythmico,’ which was by far the most difficult work on the program. We had worked in a Zoom clinic with the composer, Kirt Mosier, at the end of March, and it was clear that this work was very beneficial.”
David Schwartz ’23, who is taking Independent Study in conducting, led the String Ensemble’s “Westridge Overture” by Richard Meyer. "What interests me about conducting is getting to experience what it’s like leading an orchestra instead of just playing in one,” he said.
The finale featured a famous composition “Libertango” by world-renowned artist Astor Piazzolla. It was at that point that the secret was revealed. Ebersole said, “Performers began playing all at once, but a few bars into the piece, a solo tango dancer – with a rose fastened in her hair behind her ear – began to dance throughout the foyer, moving among the performers and audience members.” The tango dancer, Eva Conti, was Ebersole’s former student whom he taught in the 1980s and is now a professional dancer. Ebersole said that Conti has choreographed and performed the number multiple times in the past and said, “It seemed to be the perfect ending for this concert.”