Senior Recital: Chris Li

“Andover is / Why all those Abbot girls drooled / It’s my kinda school.” These lyrics resonated in Timken Room as audience members clutched their sides laughing at the most recent Senior recitalist’s lyrics. Last Saturday, at his Senior Recital, Chris Li ’07 sang “My Kind of School.” The lyrics of the original song, “My Kind of Town [Chicago Is],” were re-written for Andover in the 1970’s and sung by Sammy Davis Jr. Then, Colleen Thurman ’07 helped Li appropriate the lyrics for modern-day Andover. “My Kind of School” was one of many well-received songs at Li’s recital. The audience included students, alumni and music teachers, as well as Li’s parents, who were beaming with pride during the performance. Li, who grinned back at his parents at the end of every song, said, “It was really nice to see my parents at my recital because they’re getting ready to move to Pennsylvania, so I don’t really get to see them. They’ve been really supportive of singing since the beginning and I don’t know what I would do without them.” The beginning of Li’s singing career came in the eighth grade when he had the option of attending Study Hall or Choir. Li always finished his homework before Study Hall and he said, “At the beginning of eighth grade there was a girl that I liked in the choir…I said, ‘You know what? I’ll do choir so I can hang out with this girl.’” Although nothing ever happened with Li’s crush, he eventually started an a cappella group at his middle school before coming to Andover. Li said, “I did a lot of singing freshman year, but before Andover, I didn’t think of myself as a singer—it was something I did to stay out of trouble. At Andover it started to become what I did.” As a freshman, Li joined the Academy Chorus, Cantata Choir and Fidelio Society. He also founded a short-lived a cappella group, “The Boys who Rock Well,” with friends from Rockwell Dormitory before joining the Yorkies during his Lower year. He eventually became Co-President of Cantata, Fidelio and Yorkies, and he joined his love of arts with writing, serving as the Arts Editor for The Phillipian. With such an extensive involvement in the arts at Andover, Li’s talent has become well-known across campus. Combined with his kind, warm personality, Li has made many friends among the community, which was evidenced by his recital’s turnout—Timken Room was almost completely full. The first half of Li’s recital was filled with classical pieces recommended by his voice teacher, Allen Combs, and composed by such famed men as Handel, Brahms and Fauré. Li said, “The first songs were Handel arias, which are great warm-ups because they slide around a lot. I also had a really difficult time learning to pronounce the languages, especially the German and the French.” The second half of the recital was filled with “pop” songs and several guest performers. Stephanie Yu ’09 said, “I really liked the guest performers. It added a little more color to the whole thing.” Li started off the second half of his performance by singing a duet with his voice teacher Allen Combs. Audience members laughed as Li and Combs sang from the viewpoint of two men who are in love with the same woman. Li continued the recital singing “A Little Fall of Rain” from Les Miserablés with Olivia Pei ’07 singing alto and Maxwell Meyer ’08 on piano. He then sang “Central Park,” with Andi Zhou ’09 on piano. Li said, “‘Central Park’ was kind of crazy.” The song, dictates the life of a cheating accountant who is the son of a Rabbi. When no one can understand his sudden epiphany (“God couldn’t see me!”) he runs off to live in Central Park. Li said, “My roommate and I sang it all the time because we loved it, but I never actually had a rehearsal with it until the second to last day before my recital.” Next, Li performed “Every Other Time” with guest singers Brooks Canaday ’07 and Charles Francis ’07 before the Yorkies joined him onstage to sing the classic “Desperado.” Meghan O’Connor ’07 said, “I thought he had a good mix of music, and during the second half it seemed like he was having a lot of fun with his friends up there. I also thought his voice improved a lot from freshman year. It sounds insanely good.” After receiving a standing ovation, Li hugged almost every single audience member as he or she left Timken Room. His outstanding performance was also rewarded with flowers from enthusiastic audience members. Li said, “It’s a little sad to really feel like a Senior, to really know that it’s all over. As soon as I finished, I felt like Andover was finally coming to a close for me. In a way this was my version of saying goodbye to the school.”