2nd Annual Uzair Memorial Scholarship Benefit Concert


Rebekah Sterns

Orchestra student Declan Hayworth plays a soloist song while orchestra students ready themselves to play. Photo by Rebekah Sterns

Riley Goodfellow, Staff Writer

SJHHS held the first of its four annual concerts on Monday, October 10, showcasing every musical talent from the orchestra in a theatre filled with students from every grade.

The “2nd Annual Uzair Memorial Scholarship Benefit Concert,” was held to display the new groups the school had acquired this year and to raise money for a special cause.

Although the presentation was indeed a “get to know each other” concert, as described by Mr. McElroy, there was a special significance behind it as well.

Four years ago, in 2012, a freshman named Uzair Qureshi joined the orchestra of SJHHS, bringing his gift for playing the viola along with him. He played marvelously his first year, but was diagnosed with cancer his sophomore year.

“He wasn’t around school much his second year,” said Mr. McElroy. He came back his junior year thinking he was better, but after a month he passed away on February 14, 2015.

In order to honor such a great student, this concert was played to remember Uzair and his battle.

“We wanted to do something to memorialize him, keep his name going, so we decided to do a scholarship program in his name,” said Mr. McElroy. “We dedicate the first concert of the year to raise funds which goes into the Uzair scholarship fund that we give to a couple seniors at the end of the year.”

With the second concert held in Uzair’s name, approximately $2,000 was raised in donations alone.

Conducted by the orchestra teacher, Dean McElroy, the concert featured performances by the String Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra, the Concert Band, and the Wind Ensemble.

According to McElroy, the students had only five and half weeks to practice and perfect two complicated songs.

First on the stage was the Concert Band, which consisted of students who played the flute, oboe, bassoon, bass clarinet, alto sax, french horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium tube and percussion. They performed the songs “Ancient Voices” by Michael Sweeney and “Clarinet Marmalade” by John Edmondson.

Up next was the String Ensemble, which featured students skilled in playing the violin, cello, and the viola. Together they produced the songs “Blue Rhythmico” by Kirt Mosier and “Bluegrass Fiddle Frenzy” by Bob Phillips.

As the night progressed, the Chamber Orchestra performed, including students who played the violin, viola, bass, and cello. They performed the songs “Sinfonia II” by Felix Mendelssohn and “Capriccio Espagnol” by Rimsky-Korsakov, arr, Dackow.  

Finally, the Wind Ensemble took the stage with students who played the flute, oboe, alto sax, bassoon, clarinet, tenor sax, bass clarinet, baritone sax, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and percussion. The last group played “Chorale and Shaker Dance” by John Zdechlik and “Sinatra!” by arr. Stephen Bulla.

In order to continue honoring Uzair and his journey, SJHHS will annually hold an “Uzair Memorial Scholarship Benefit Concert.”