Winter choral concert features 4 groups

 All upper school choirs sang in the annual holiday concert, titled “A Winter Fantasia” Friday, Dec. 13 at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica.

H-W Jazz Singers, Bel Canto, Wolverine Chorus and Chamber Singers, as well as a number of student and out-of-school musicians performed.

“I think that the concert was wonderful,” choral teacher Roger Guerrero said. “The students were all at their best. I couldn’t be any prouder of them. The music they made moved many hearts and brought tears to many eyes.”

The concert opened with a candlelit procession by all choral groups, who performed “Stille Nacht,” accompanied by harpist Maria Casale and “Bashana Haba’ah.”

The female choir group Bel Canto followed with six pieces, two including harp: “Duermete Niño lindo, a Mexican Lullaby” and “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn.”

“Carol of the Birds” featured student musicians Vivian Yang ’16 on flute, Tom Fuller ’15 on clarinet and out-of-school oboist Rachel Van Amburgh.

“I think everything went great, and I really enjoyed playing with the chorus,” Yang said. “Everyone worked very hard and put a lot of time and effort into the show.”

The all-male Wolverine Chorus then performed three pieces, “Riu, Riu, Chiu” with James Hansen ’16 on tenor drum, “Der Herr Segne Euch” and “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High.”

“The pieces, overall, went incredibly smoothly,” Hansen said. “We really were well-prepared for this concert, and it definitely paid off.”

Jazz Singers closed the first half of the concert with five pieces, with each song performed entirely a cappella. Their first song, “Chove Chuva”, featured solos by Marcella Park ’15, Michelle Lee ’14, Mac Colquhoun ’14 and Aiyana White ’14.

Other songs included “Mi Y’maleil” from “Arise and Be Free, A Suite for Chanukah,” “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “The Holly and the Ivy” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

“My favorite songs were ‘Seek the Lord’ because all the harmonies were really cool, or ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’ because we all had a lot of fun practicing that song,” Benny Weisman ’15 said.

After a short intermission, the Chamber Singers performed six songs; “Seek the Lord” had solos from students Maddy Abrahams ’14 and Lee. Others included “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied,” “Senex puerum portabat,” “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head,” “Christmas In the Straw,” and “Wassail Song.”

All choral groups joined with a chamber orchestra specially formed for the 13-minute-long piece, “Fantasia On Christmas Carols.” The chamber orchestra included students from the middle and upper school Symphony Orchestras and the University of Southern California.

A performance of “Peace, Peace,” in which seniors broke off to sing “Silent Night” over the rest of the combined choirs, ended the concert.

“Everyone worked really hard and there were a lot of rehearsals before the show,” instrumentalist Sara Zhao ’16 said.

“After the performance, there’s a feeling of achievement,” Kenneth Noble ’16 said. “It’s about creating a piece of art; in performance, it’s not just about the journey, it’s about the destination.”

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