Drawing a growing crowd of onlookers, The Fidelio Society sings their rendition of “Unclouded Day” by Shawn Hirschner in the middle of Times Square in New York City. As Abbey Siegfried, Instructor in Music, waves her baton to the rhythm of the song, the group concludes its impromptu performance with a final, harmonious hum.
“We were walking around, and we said, ‘Well, what if we actually performed in the middle of Times Square?’ Because, you know, when you get to Times Square, you see all the street artists and all the people dressed up in absurd costumes. So we were like, ‘Okay, let’s do it!’ So we just rallied everyone and were thinking, ‘Oh my goodness. This can go exceptionally horribly or totally a smashing success.’ And it was definitely a success,” said John Moreland ’18, co-president of Fidelio.
Over Spring Break, members of Fidelio and Chamber Orchestra traveled to New York City to perform in Carnegie Hall on a trip organized by the Andover Music Department. Held on Sunday, March 4, the concert featured individual performances from each group and one collaborative piece.
“[Derek Jacoby, Instructor in Music] threw out at a faculty meeting one day, ‘Maybe we should play at Carnegie Hall!’ And it was sort of spontaneous. It wasn’t serious, and I thought about it, and I was like, ‘Yeah, we should play at Carnegie Hall!’ So I looked into it. We figured out a way that we can afford to do it inexpensively,” said Holly Barnes, Instructor in Music and Director of Performance.
Fidelio performed a wide range of songs in varying languages, including Hebrew, Estonian, and Latin. Due to differing levels of experience among Fidelio members, the group found it challenging to memorise lyrics in foreign languages, according to Marie Latham ’18, co-president of Fidelio.
“We sang a couple of songs in different languages, which were pieces that not everybody was super sure about, especially since we had a couple of newer members who didn’t know the languages, as well as some of the members who had sung the songs before,” said Latham.
The chamber orchestra also performed a selection of pieces in the concert. One particular piece played by the orchestra was “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla. One of the last performed, the piece was a lively show-ender that became an audience favourite.
“We played [“Libertango”] at the end which was like a salsa, tango piece. I know from whoever I talked to, the audience really loved that piece. I think it showed the amount of fun we had as an orchestra. Playing in such great venues, we really realize how lucky we are. I think we showed that with how much passion we put into that piece,” said Aditi Kannan ’18, a violinist who has served as concertmaster in Chamber Orchestra.
Before the end of the concert, both Fidelio and Chamber Orchestra came together to perform a cantata composed by Siegfried’s husband, Kevin Siegfried, titled “Songs for the Journey.” The piece, comprised of five movements, was written for Siegfried during her pregnancy.
“We partnered with the orchestra to sing this cantata. That was a special experience as well because there was a professional harpist on stage, and the songs were really beautiful, especially in that cantata,” said Moreland.
After the concert, the groups held a reception sponsored by the Office of Academy Resources, allowing the performers and attending families and alumni to celebrate the performances.
“[The reception] was really fun, and there was a lot of good food. It was great to see a lot of Andover people coming to support us — that was really nice. It shows how big the Andover network is, because there were people of all ages there, which was exciting,” said Yuji Chan ’18, a violinist who has also served as concertmaster.
Students also had the opportunity to explore New York City beforehand. After touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, students were either able to watch the Broadway play “Farinelli and the King” or listen to the New York Philharmonic.
“The Broadway musical was amazing. It was super cool. We got to see this featured countertenor, which basically is a tenor singer who sings exceptionally high and has a feminine tone to his voice. It was a really great show,” said Moreland.
With the conclusion of the trip, both groups have become closer, bonding through rehearsals, preparations, and the final performance, according to Latham.
“I think it definitely made us stronger and more cohesive as a group, because we were all working towards a common goal. I think we’ve definitely come a long way from how we started at the beginning of the year, so it’s fun to see,” said Latham.
Kannan added, “I think that just before, [the orchestra] didn’t think that they could do it. The fact that we did it successfully and had fun while doing it brought us closer together. Even while we were performing, we could sense a feeling of camaraderie and friendship between us, which is really nice. We don’t have much time to bond outside of orchestra, and there’s not much bonding during orchestra. [The tour] was really fun; I think we’ve become closer friends [through] supporting each other.”