Spring Concert Delights Fidelio Fans

This weekend, director of the Fidelio Society, Carolyn Skelton, put on her final Fidelio concert. After having directed the program for many years, Skelton brought a close to her tenure as director of the group with a fine performance. The ensemble, which consists of an even number of males and females, is the most elite chorus on campus. This was made evident as beautiful harmonies echoed throughout Cochran Chapel. The first set of songs contained “O Sing Joyfully” by Adrien Batten, “Sicut cervus”by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and “Je le vous dirai” by Pierre Certon, among others. Very broad vocal ranges really made these pieces stand out, especially “Je le vous dirai.” The sound of these songs was quite powerful and at the same time allowed for a lot of emotion to shine. All of the songs in the first set fit the theme of spring. Many songs, no matter what language, mentioned “spring streams” or “golden spring days.” The theme of spring gives an idea of the sound of the pieces. They were quite up-lifting and energetic, resulting in a very solid opening to this year’s spring concert. After a short break, the singers returned for their second set. They came back stronger than before with a great performance of Thomas Morley’s “I Love, Alas, I Love Thee.” Another highlight of the second set was “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl. The song featured solos from three of the group’s talented men, Miles Canaday ’05, Andy St. Louis ’05, and Jon Weigel ’05, who chanted interludes between the repeated first phrase. The next song, Herbert Howell’s “A Spotless Rose,” featured one of PA’s most talented singers, Stephen Travierso ’04, who left the audience breathing heavily with amazement. Another stretch break allowed the audience to prepare for what would prove to be a much more diverse third set, kicked off by a pair of “Shakespeare Songs.” A stir from the crowed arose as the beginning to one of the most anticipated songs, Frankie Valli’s “Oh What a Night” began to spread throughout the Chapel. One of the better-known songs of the night, it received a very warm round of applause. However, the most amazing part of this piece was its background work. Last year, St. Louis received the Mark Larner Prize for summer work in the arts. With this money, he worked with a professional musician over the summer writing a cappella music. He used what he learned to create his arrangement of “December 1963 (Oh What a Night),” the night’s most well received tune. During the song, Alison Wheeler ’05 had a little time to show off as she soloed, but again, Travierso stole the song with his brilliant solo. After closing with Ralph Vaughan Williams’s arrangement of “Loch Lomond,” a beautiful Scottish folk song, the Fidelio Society retired to a standing ovation. A couple of tears were shed from parents and students whose careers with Fidelio ended. Co-Presidents Ariel Gold ’04 and Travierso showed great leadership through their year-long role. This concert also ended the long and illustrious career of Mrs. Carolyn Skelton. She will be greatly missed as it was often her enthusiasm that kept the group going through their long rehearsals. Although the group is full of kids who love to sing, many of them appreciated the group almost entirely because of Mrs. Skelton. Her presence at rehearsals brought the students to life. Her retirement comes after an astounding 32-year career at PA. Many students have appreciated Mrs. Skelton’s musical side during All-School meetings, as she blasts air through the 16-foot organ pipes of Cochran Chapel. One group member exclaimed, “Mrs. Skelton really knows how to make singing something other than a hobby. She makes it something that we all would like to pursue in our later lives.” Fidelio’s final presentation under the leadership of Mrs. Skelton is certainly a great way for her to leave Andover. Each and every song sounded flawless and the audience appreciated every last note. Next year, Fidelio is looking forward to a bright future; yet, without the Class of 2004 and Mrs. Skelton, the chorus will never be quite the same.