Silver Chips Online

Winter concert warms the soul

Fun and upbeat tunes mesh with eager audience

By Monica Wei, Online Entertainment Editor
January 13, 2009
Blair's second winter concert, featuring the Blazer Choir, InToneNation, the Chamber Choir guitar ensemble and the symphonic orchestra featured fun and foreign songs of a wide variety from the soft and lilting to the haunting and sad to the upbeat and cheerful. These engaging tunes, coupled with conductors Dustin M. Doyle and Paul Newport's desire to include audience involvement, resulted in an intimate and warm concert.

The Blazer Choir started the night with an exotic kick and more traditional songs. They began with the Hebrew folk song "Lo Yissa Goy," a vibrant piece with a soft, tuneful sound but impassioned lyrics calling for peace. Their second song, "Hawai'i Aloha," was a traditional song celebrating the beauty of Hawaii with a soft and lilting tune. But their signature piece was the traditional African American song "Keep Your Lamps!" an uplifting song sung during the era of slavery. The drumbeat, performed by senior Motuma Ayana, added spice and rhythm to the song, keeping it upbeat and interesting.

InToneNation followed, having three songs prepared but only performing two. Though their segment was shorter than expected, their clear voices and beautiful harmonization dazzled. Their rendition of "Eye of the Tiger" was a standout, with beatboxing and a drummer imitation by senior Daniel Woolson. Main vocals by senior Corinne Ducey and sophomore Katerina Klavon showed off the singers' smooth voices and incredible range, but their dulcet voices were at times drowned out by the background harmonizing. Even so, their performances were exemplary, and the audience was sorry to see the group leave before their third song.

The Chamber Choir took the stage next and continued the Blazer Choir's trend of foreign songs. The cheerful "It est bel et bon" was a lighthearted song about country women who love their husbands because they offer to do chores. Although the words "bel" and "bon" blended together throughout the song, the audience still understood the light, airy tone. The Chamber Choir also performed a traditional Scottish tune and a French song, "Le Festin," which was featured in the movie "Ratatouille." Senior Alex Beresovsky dazzled with a piano piece, Chopin's "Nocturne in D Major" a haunting but graceful melody. The Chamber Choir finished their segment strong with the Colombian folksong "El Gavilan," translated to "The Sparrowhawk" in English. The strong tune, complete with vocal imitations of a drumbeat, was fun and buoyant.

The Guitar Ensemble started simply, with an easy warm-up in Bach's "Chorale," arranged for guitar by Bill Tyers. They sped up and split into sections for the Spanish themed "Spagnoletta from Terpsichore" by Michael Praetorius, arranged by Andrew Forrest and the "Spanish Harlem" by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector. Their segment also featured "Can't Help Falling in Love," by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. Before the piece, Newport invited the audience to sing along, with lyrics to the song printed on the back of the program, and they did so wholeheartedly, with especially melodious voices arising from where the choir groups sat in the audience. The group ended on a strong note with "Summer Breeze" by Jim Seals and Dash Croft, a sweet combination and variation of parts that fit perfectly with the Guitar Ensemble's strengths.

The Symphonic Orchestra, which preformed during the Winter Concert in December, played two pieces for its appreciative audience: the "Promenade," which Doyle noted was "upbeat and playful," and the "Irish Tune from County Derry," which had a slower, smoother beat but was enjoyable all the same.

The concert finished on a high note as all the choral groups filed on stage to join the orchestra for the grand finale. Newport invited all members of the audience onstage to join them in Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah," and many happily obliged, ending the concert with many different voices and instruments blending together in a grand crescendo.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8847