Spring Choral Concert Showcases Student Arranged Song

Mary Rosary Flauta | Art and Entertainment Editor

Livermore High School held the Spring Choral Concert on June 2. The Show and Concert choirs performed and the majority was conducted by Christopher Filice, the choir teacher.

Concert Choir | Credit: Mary Rosary Flauta

Concert Choir was first to sing. Their set is as follows: “Exsultate Justi” by Rollo Dilworth, “Danza, Danza Fanciulla” by Francesco Durante, “Da unten im Tale,” a traditional Bavarian song arragned by J. Brahms, “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks arranged by J.R. Anderson, “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes, arranged by Brandy Kay Riha with soloists Blake Stokes (Granada High School, Grade 9) and Melaney Walker (LHS, grade 9) with Andrea Flores (GHS, grade 10) as vocal percussion.

Show Choir was the second choir to perform in concert. They performed Elastic Heart by Sia, arranged and

Johanna “Jojo” Zukowski
grade 12) | Credit: Mary Rosary Flauta

conducted by Johanna Zukowski (grade 12), Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine, arranged by Ryan Hutcherson, Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer, arranged by Deke Sharon, and Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson, arranged by Deke Sharon.

Zukowski said, in regards to her arranging and conducting the song, “It feels very great. I mean more than great, the

choir let me [conduct them] and they were very receptive to it. I never thought I would be given this opportunity. I didn’t know that conducting would be so difficult and I’m glad that Filice helped me with it. I couldn’t be more happy, more satisfied with my first song I ever conducted for a concert.”

Zukowski continued in response to whether it was her first time arranging. “It’s my first time arranging. Filice mentioned someone arranging and I said that I would try it, so he gave me the opportunity.”

In regards to how she feels about Show Choir being more student-based in the future, she replied, “Filice and I both agree that, in terms of college a cappella, it’s [got to be] all student-based [and] student-run. I think for the way Show Choir should be progressing towards, it should be more of the teachers just monitoring and the students feeding off of each other and creating the show basically. So I think that arranging…will lead to others wanting to step up. It’s just preparing anyone who wants to do college a cappella and it’s a step in the right direction.”

(left to right) Student choreographers Alyssa Prosch (grade 12) and Mallory Jones (grade 12)

To encourage those who might be given this job in the future, she exclaimed that, “It gets really frustrating especially when you’ve never sung a certain part, like I never been a soprano or a bass, obviously; it gets really difficult. You have to keep in mind what their range is. You can’t make the basses go too high or too low, same with the tenors. It gets frustrating, but it’s totally worth the final product and no matter what you create it’s going to sound good because the choir will make it sound good.”

Zukowski continued on to say, “I thought my arrangement was horrible like really basic but Filice was telling me that it was really good and that it, even though it might seem really easy, it’s the way the choir sang it that made it sound like a breakthrough type song and just keep at it. If it’s in your head, try to sit down because there are def times where you could have a block and nothing is working. No sort of melody or harmony, but if you are in that creative drive just sit down and work on it, you will get so much done in one sitting and then you can change it if you don’t like it. If you believe it you can achieve it. Just don’t give up on yourself and no matter what you do in terms of show choir you are going to have a family and cushion to fall back on if something goes wrong or if you’re not confident in it there’s gonna be Filice and the whole choir is there to support you and if you ever don’t like something you can change it and the choir will be open to it. Don’t worry about it.”

When asked about how the trimester went, Filice answered, “I think the students worked very hard this trimester. We had a lot of difficult repertoire and a lot of diverse repertoire. I think it turned out really well. In this concert, we had a lot of student leadership opportunities. I had a student Johanna Zukowski conduct and she also arranged a piece. [There were] a lot of student soloists and student choreographers, so it was really rewarding for me to see my students take the lead.”

In response to why he would like Show Choir to spiral into a student-run class, he thinks that,”it’s really a great

Seniors in choir take a picture with choir teacher. | Credit: Metra Tursonzadah

learning opportunity and it really shows me what you all know which is really fun. I think it’s a good way to keep everyone more engaged and more on task. I think this concert went really really well and I cannot wait for the next one.”

For those who look forward to choir in the future, Filice added that, “all the choirs are going to be three trimesters long, so instead of just a two trimester long class, where you have a chunk off in the middle of the year or you don’t have a trimester of choir, you can take the same choir all year. “

To all of his seniors, Filice said, ”[I] will miss all the seniors very much and I hope you all keep singing.”

The concert performances closed with combined choirs and sang Wanting Memories sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock, composed by Ysaye M. Barnwell.

The night ended with a bittersweet good-bye to the senior class of 2017. The seniors were called up according to the choirs they were in. Each senior was given a blush pink rose and a bag filled with notes written by their underclassmen classmates.

Megan Carena (grade 12) | Credit: Mary Rosary Flauta

Elizabeth Richards (Granada High School, grade 12) said that,”considering that it’s my first set since Granada got its first concert choir, it’s been a lot of fun. I did this last trimester, [too]. It’s incredibly fun to meet Filice and to be able to sing. I’m gonna miss the students that I got to know. I made a lot of friends in concert choir which is great because there are people who I didn’t know very well because they were [in] different grades and younger than I am. And being in concert choir, especially since we were so small at Granada, we got to become really close to each other which is a lot of fun. “

Richards also adds that choir is “a confidence boost.”

Said Richards, “So many people come into choir being so shy and Filice very quickly tells you, ‘No matter what mistake you make you are always loved,’ and just to have that confidence is great.”

Marianna Vandenheuvel grade 11) | Credit: Mary Rosary Flauta

Eloisa Gutierrez (grade 12), a Chamber Chorale student who did not perform in the concert due to not having the class in the third trimester, said, ”it was really fulfilling to perform one more time in the choir [last trimester]. Just all the hard work that we put into it, especially in trimester two when we have less weeks to practice, but I think we did a really good job. We went to events, so it was very memorable. But watching [the Spring Choral Concert], I was very impressed by our whole department. Filice has done such a good job and the students, we have so many more kids in choir which is awesome. So I really like seeing people grow. The friendships you make sitting on the risers in the classroom. We have so much fun.”

Megan Carena (grade 12), also a Chamber Chorale student, replied that the concert was good and that “it was kind of emotional [because] I wasn’t in it.” In addition, she will miss chamber chorale because the class got really close.

Marianna Vandenheuvel (grade 11) said in response to what she would like to say as an addition to her interview, “Join choir if you have not because it is really amazing and it kind of will change your life. We are all really accepting and love each other so come enjoy.”

Header Credit: Mary Rosary Flauta

Leave a Comment