Chamber and chorale couple for romance-Inspired program

Love is in the air at winter Chorale concert


Alexandra Kluzak, Staff Writer

“How dare we reign over our fates!” sang the school’s 19-member chorale, accompanied by eight members of Chamber, beginning Gabriel Fuere’s French Ballad “Pavane” and opening the Chorale concert on February 12.

Chamber Musician Presley Jacobson ’25 said the addition of lyrics to a song she had previously performed instrumentally made her feel elated.

 “The best part of collaborating with Chorale was being able to hear our music come together with different voices and lyrics,” Presley said. “The piece felt very grand this way, and it was an extremely satisfactory feeling to be able to create such beautiful sounds with the help of the wonderful singers.”

Following the rivalrous dialogue in “Pavane,” Chorale performed a Valentine’s Day-inspired program encompassing love of all kinds—from brotherly to romantic.

An abridged assembly block performance and a 7:00 p.m. concert took place on Friday, February 12, with 6o and 50 people in attendance, respectively. The evening performance marked the first-ever collaboration between Chamber and Chorale. It was also Chorale’s first official concert of the school year after delaying the concert from January due to the Omicron variant. 

As Upper School (US) Chorale Director Joel Sindelar was arranging Chorale’s winter concert, US Orchestra Director Elliot Cless ’02 approached Mr. Sindelar about combining the groups’ talents. Mr. Sindelar then invited Dr. Cless and Chamber to play Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4” and accompany Chorale during “Pavane.”

Dr. Cless said this collaboration was special because it was between two previously isolated musical groups. 

“I particularly enjoyed hearing the color of the Chorale’s lovely voices blending with the instruments during unison passages, a rare acoustic phenomenon [which was] representative to me of hope and transcendence,” he said.

After “Pavane,” Chorale performed “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Emotions” by Destiny’s Child, and “Chela,” a Georgian hymn about a man driving his oxen to a nearby town, all accompanied by Mr. Sindelar on guitar. Acapella, an after-school club consisting of 16 of the 19 Chorale members, then performed Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” 

The program contained songs in French, Georgian, and Latin. The French-speaking students in the group, along with World Languages Department Head and French Teacher James Sennette, coached the group on pronunciation for “Pavane,” whose lyrics are in French. For the other foreign language songs, the group referred to phonetic transcriptions. 

Alexandra Fabbri ’23 said she preferred songs with lyrics in English because she could relate to them but appreciated the technical beauty of the foreign songs. 

“What I do like about [foreign] music—even if it’s less about the words—[is that] the sounds and harmonies are cool, so it gives you a different aspect of musicality,” she said.  

Nejma Reza ’23, who sang a solo in “What a Wonderful World,” said she loved the song because it contained evocative lyrics of the sky and stars, two of her favorite natural elements.

“I resonate with [What a Wonderful World] a lot. My favorite thing about the world is nature and the beauty of the world. The song reminds me to appreciate this marvelous world and acknowledge the delicateness of the nature we so easily ignore.”

Anja Caverley-Light ’24, said singing a solo in “Emotions,” offered her a medium for alleviating her anxiety because the song described turbulent feelings with which she could relate. 

“It sounds cheesy, but I want people who may experience anxiety to know it’s not just them and that they can power through that.”

Beyond allowing its members a unique avenue to express emotions, Chorale helps them grow as people, Mr. Sindelar said. 

“Chorale allows people to take risks, and that’s scary. It’s a courage-building activity. There are people who would face a lion who would never ever sing in front of anybody.”

The Valentine’s Day theme of the concert, Mr. Sindelar said, was appropriate as music is uniquely equipped to inspire love and harmony. 

It can be hard to say what music is, but what it’s for is easy. It’s for connecting people. [With music we can] step past [a sense of] community into a sense of belonging.” 

Amphitrite Ma ’23 said Chorale’s camaraderie brought her joy. 

“I love how relaxed everyone was and the small interactions you can see between the singers. It shows how close this group is, and honestly, seeing them enjoy themselves was heartwarming.”

Chamber Musician Leo Wang ’24 was impressed by the “perfect” performance of Chorale, he said, and hopes there are larger scale collaborations between the two musical groups, including a symphony, in the future. 

“The possibilities are endless,” he said.