Fidelio’s Final Bow

As the spring finally made its awaited appearance at Phillips Academy, Fidelio Society performed their final concert of the year. ?Last Sunday afternoon, Phillips Academy’s elite singing ensemble, Fidelio Society, filled the Cochran Chapel with their beautiful trills and warbles. Though Grandparents’ weekend and Mother’s Day stole a lot of audience members, a sizeable group showed up to watch the performance.? The Fidelio Society performed a diverse repertoire of nearly twenty songs, singing compositions ranging from the 16th century to the present. A great variety of lyrics were sung as well with some songs in English and others in French.? Soprano singer Steph Yu ’09 said, “Preparing for this concert was a year-long process—definitely a lot of hard work. I expected more people to show up, [nevertheless,] I thought it was a success.” ?The performers sang in perfect tune, and every voice blended with the others to create a single projection of different sounds. The audience may have been small, but they eagerly and attentively watched the performance, rapturous piece after piece.? Marie Doherty, a Phillips Academy music fan, said after the concert, “Absolutely beautiful. I don’t think the singers realize just how good they are. It really put me in an ethereal mood, like the angels were singing. It puts you in a calming mood.”? Her husband, Harold Doherty, said, “It’s just wonderful that students are so willing to do this. We come to watch these performances whenever we have the chance; we watch all the concerts. You don’t see these things in high school; it’s hard to believe we’re not in a college.”? The hit of the performance was Nelly Bly, by renowned song-writer Stephen Foster. The light hearted, happy music gave way to a wondrous finale, the audience applauded nonstop.? Another hit was Trois Beaux Oiseau, translated as “Three Beautiful Birds,” by composer Maurice Ravel. In this piece, six different soloists sang at different intervals while accompanied by the rest of the singers. The high, brisk and mystical theme sang by the soloists resembled the chirping of beautiful birds, while the accompaniment served to portray the sounds of nature and its beauty. Though the performers’ French accents were not particularly admirable, their singing surely was. Leading towards the finale, Fidelio performed an array of traditional folksongs. Ranging from Three Folksongs by Felix Mendelssohn, Irish Lullaby and O Danny Boy, these performances gave way to some light-hearted music. The audience enjoyed the casual melodies of the folksongs; it was a nice contrast from the strict, classical choral music from before. Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music and Director of the Fidelio Society, said, “I thought it went beautifully. We tried to give as much variety as possible, ranging from sacred music to folksongs…It’s a shame not many people came, but then we had a good audience.” As the end of the year finally approaches, graduating members of Fidelio Society and their voices are surely going to be missed.? Yu said, “Well, I’ve never sung in such a small group before I came to Andover. I learned to work hard with my group, and it’s cliché, but I’ve become such great friends with all the people in Fidelio. Mr. Walter has just been so amazing, so enjoyable. I can’t believe this is the last Fidelio concert. It’s going to be really sad when we graduate.”