Instrumental Ensemble’s Winter Concert Kicked off the Holiday Season


Kate Bittle

The Instrumental Ensemble group rehearsing for their concert, led by Mr. Medcalf.

Kate Bittle, Senior Staff Writer


On December 15, the Instrumental Ensemble performed its first show since 2019. They usually perform every semester but haven’t had the chance since Covid has started. The group consists of a variety of instruments ranging from violin to tuba. Each musician has worked hard since the beginning of the school year in preparation for this concert. The concert is organized by Mr.David  Kowalczyk, the chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Music,  and took place in the chapel. 

Mr. Marvin  Medcalf, the teacher of the instrumental ensemble, was excited about this year’s show. 

“This year’s instrumental ensemble worked very hard this fall semester. We have a wide variety of music including some Christmas selections that [was performed] in our Dec. 15 concert in the chapel. I enjoy working with this group and they play[ed] great!” 

Mr. Medcalf would also like to thank Mr. Kowalczyk for the support and for going out of his way to make this group a success. This is the largest Ensemble group since Mr. Medcalf has been teaching at The Academy. He has taught at St. Joe for 5 years but before that, he taught at Rockwood for 33 years.

Ensemble students arrive before school at 7 am and practice until 7:45, every Tuesday and Thursday. To enter the ensemble they are expected to be proficient with their instruments and able to read sheet music. This year’s group includes three violins, a clarinet, alto saxophone, a bari saxophone, tuba, percussion, and two piano players who can also play percussion. 

Mr. Medcalf and Mr. Kowalczyk joined them on stage with trumpet and flute.

Sophomore Lydia Kaushik was excited to perform her first concert at The Academy.

“I [couldn’t] wait to be able to play our music in the chapel. We have a great group of girls who are dedicated to their instruments and I feel like we bond over our 7 am meetings twice a week.” 

Lydia joined the Instrumental Ensemble as a way to be involved at St. Joe and to continue playing the piano at the same time. This class allows students to become better at their instruments and gain experience performing in front of people. 

Mr. Medcalf would like to mention that the group is always happy to add new members any time during the school year that have middle school experience on band instruments and violin and cello.