Archive for November, 2015

Missing the Music: A Semester Away From Choir

November 9th, 2015 by arouel16

It’s an odd feeling seeing the clock pass 4:30 and not having to rush over to Hogan 5 to find a bunch of college kids breathing through straws.

As amazing as the opportunity to study in Washington, D.C. has been, there is one thing that it is sorely lacking: music. Sure, I can attend Chainsmokers concerts and put on Crosby, Stills, & Nash as I make dinner (most likely pasta with slightly undercooked sausage), but my experience down here has been pretty comprehensive with the exception of choir. There is something incredibly unique about the choral experience: it is rigorous as it is relaxing, academic as it is musical, and strangely relaxing as stressful as it may become.

It’s almost paradoxical in its existence: all the parts that one puts into choir (the rehearsals, the sectionals, the breathing exercises) can be stressful, daunting, and tiring. But come concert-time, the product seems almost effortless – the concordance of voices harmonized together to create a sound only a choir can make.

As someone who is now intimately familiar with the professional world, choir has played a large part in my professional life. Among other things, it has taught me to be independent within a larger collective. Instead of viewing yourself as singularly independent or only as part of a larger group, choir has shown that one has to be independent (aware, conscious, and deliberate in actions) but also very aware of the implications of your actions as an individual have on the greater collective you belong to. Choir has demonstrated that sometimes, your own voice may be too overpowering to create the best sound, and to achieve that, you must take a step back and listen to others’ voices. The list goes on and on, but the short of it is that choir has certainly impacted me for the better.

It’s certainly been both interesting and difficult to shift into a role from being a full-time student to a part-time student, but it’s achievable. And as to choir, well, that’s only made that transition easier.

-Max Lies ’17


November 4th, 2015 by arouel16

I come from an incredibly small school in the-middle-of-nowhere-Maine, and though I love the community I grew up in, it did have some drawbacks, especially where the arts were concerned. My high school choir was, at most, thirty girls, it was almost only girls because singing was considered a “feminine thing” and any guys who joined would be made fun of. The choir members we did have though were dedicated and preserved despite switching directors multiple times throughout highschool and never being taken seriously by other choirs in the state. Despite everything, my experience in  high school choir was a positive one, if anything it makes me appreciate the college choir that much more.

Singing in our first concert of the year two weeks ago, I was again struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be able to be a part of such a talented and hard working group. After going through high school with an all girls choir having, a base, a baritone, and a tenor section is thrilling, it adds another level to the music. The music itself is so much more complex than any of the songs I sang in high school and I love the challenge of learning the pieces. It is also incredible to me that so little of the time is spent going over notes and section parts, we focus so much on dynamics, tone, vowel pronunciation, and  perfecting seemingly small parts of the song which  lead to it resonating with the audience. During our concert I think this really became apparent. So many people expressed their admiration for the level of professionalism the choir had and the emotion we portrayed through the music. My parents were left speechless, unable to choose a piece they enjoyed the most because they loved each song and felt they were all executed well.

I know that we have had some difficulties this semester due to conflicting schedules and a seemingly short number of rehearsals to prepare for the concert. However, our performance was strong and has left me excited for our future concerts. I feel as a group we can only get stronger and am excited to see how we will improve throughout the rest of the year.  – Hannah Moore ’18