Student Vocalists Shine In First Concert of the Year

In a rendition of the lively, operatic Italian piece “Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Nolan Crawford ’15 complemented the soprano voice of Michaela Barczak ’15 with his tenor voice. The title of the piece, which translates to “Let’s drink from the joyful cups,” reflects the tune’s cheerful and playful atmosphere. The two singers, who were accompanied by piano, were the opening performers at last Sunday’s Vocal and Choral Concert during Family Weekend.

Students and parents gathered in the Cochran Chapel to hear the Chorus, the Fidelio Society and several soloists perform in the first vocal recital of the year. Organized by Abbey Siegfried, Instructor in Music and School Organist, and Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music and Director of Chorus and the Fidelio Society, the Vocal and Choral Concert featured 16 songs that displayed a variety of genres, vocal ranges and vocal styles.

“[Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici] is sometimes called ‘The Drinking Song,’ and normally, it’s performed at an opera or a party. Every time we rehearsed it, [Crawford] and I would dance a little bit because that is how the piece made us feel. Since it is about drinking, dancing and the joys of life, we were also tempted to hold champagne glasses during the performance, because it would be like making a toast!” said Barczak.

Next, members of the Fidelio Society took the stage. Despite having 11 new members performing for the first time, the ensemble pulled off its program of seven pieces with their trademark artistry.

One of the songs the Fidelio Society performed was “I Love, Alas, I Love Thee,” a lighthearted piece from the Renaissance era composed by Thomas Morley. The upbeat piece was short, swift and sweet.

“We perform this piece incredibly well. We are crisp. We are tight. This piece is the one we feel the most comfortable doing, and it shows,” said Thomas Burnett ’15, tenor in Fidelio Society.

Chorus closed the concert with “Alleluia,” a slow-paced song filled with long drawn-out notes. Starting out quietly, the song gradually crescendoed to a section of intense, rich harmonies before fading out once more to the softness of the beginning.

Although the singers performed well on the night of the concert, rehearsing for “Alleluia” posed some challenges.

“‘Alleluia’ was really difficult, and we kept having to do it over again and again. There were certain parts we just couldn’t get right. The sopranos just kept going flat, or the tenors weren’t singing it correctly,” said Hilary Gillis ’15, a soprano in Chorus.

“The chorus and the composition made the song seem like it belonged in a movie or [on] a large stage rather than just in a school choir concert. I also thought it was very interesting in that the only word they sang was ‘Alleluia,’ but by having the different sections of the chorus harmonize, it made the song have lots of depth and power,” said Anneke Sherry ’17, an audience member, in an email to The Phillipian.