Choral ensembles gather at Middle School for joint retreat

Lucas Lee

Choral ensembles from all grades convened on the middle school campus Saturday for the annual joint choral retreat. Zanaida Robles and Jeremy Pease, who led the event, said they intended to foster relationships between students of different skill levels.

“The goal was to forge a connection between middle school and upper school choral students to increase spirit, practice student leadership, recruit for future ensembles and build music skills in community with singers at every level of our institution,” said Robles.

Choral ensembles bond at Middle School

The retreat is the one time of year all the choirs come together. Alon Moradi ’21, a member of Chamber Singers and Jazz Singers, said this is important in developing relationships throughout the choral program.

“It’s a really special moment for the program as a whole, as we get to establish a sense of camaraderie and the younger students are able to see what the more advanced ensembles achieve at a more professional level,” Moradi said. “For me, the choir retreat in seventh grade is what made me want to continue the program, having seen the Madrigals and Chamber Singers perform some of their work.”

There were 180 students from all nine choirs at the school. Despite the large scale, students were able to bond through singing ice-breakers, Chamber Singers member Billy Johnson ’22 said.

“We rehearsed and sang two group songs, giving students an opportunity to work with both choral instructors and both accompanists,” Robles said. “Upper School student leaders led an outdoor singing session, teaching students two songs by rote and then singing them all together on the spot.”

The choirs also played games which exercised their vocal technique, Moradi said.

Choral section leaders teach younger members

“Some of the choral leadership members, including myself, taught all the students outside in a circle a three part round via call and response,” Moradi said. “I really enjoyed it, even though it was super hot out.”

By the end of the event, Robles said she felt that the retreat accomplished its goal and generated excitement for the future of the choral program.

“I thought the event was truly a success. It was fun to hear and see how much depth our choral program has,” Robles said.

None of this could have happened without the support of the parents in providing meals, Robles said.

“We are so grateful to the awesome parents who helped coordinate breakfast, set up for lunch, and clean up at the end of the retreat,” Robles said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”