Performing the Classics

By Chloe Lister and Victor Yoon

Nearly one in seven upper school students performed in the Major Works concert, a collaboration performance of the combined men’s and women’s choirs and the symphony orchestra, said vocal head Rodger Guerrero.

Covering more than three centuries of musical history, the performance in St. Michael’s church featured pieces in three different languages. The purpose of the annual Major Works concert is to utilize the upper school music program to play classical repertoire.

This year’s concert consisted of three pieces performed by both the orchestra and the choir, and two instrumental pieces, both linked to the choral performances.

The performance opened with an orchestral prelude to an opera by Tchaikovsky and was followed by an entire “Missa Brevis,” short mass, composed by Mozart, which lasted nearly 40 minutes and was a combination of the string section and the choir.

A chorus from the same Russian opera was one of two pieces that utilized all student musicians that night. The second piece was Ralph Vaughan William’s “Serenade to Music,” which set a sonnet from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” to music. It used the orchestra and all upper schools vocal performers, replacing solo parts with men and women from the Chamber Singers, the highest tier choir.

Students who performed in Major Works enjoyed the new style of music the concert offered.

“I’ve never done anything like that before. It was really cool having a fuller sound due to the orchestra because for our concerts we only have a piano,” Sara Carreras ’13, a member of Bel Canto, said.

Amy Weissenbach ’12, a member of Chamber Singers, particularly enjoyed working with other musical groups on campus.

“Major Works was really fun because it’s not often that we get to combine all the choral groups together and sing together with the orchestra. It was great to hear the combination of all the music groups,” she said.

“Being able to accompany singers was really eye opening and memorable because it increased the power of mousic even more,” Danni Xia ’12, a member of the symphony orchesta, said.

Many singers noted that the music was more sophisticated than what they usually do, especially since the songs were much longer.