Choir Show Features Pop Arrangements

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Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

Chamber Choir performed their annual showcase at various venues from January 28- 30.

3 performances took place at Campolindo, 1 at Rheem Elementary School, and 1 at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JM).

This year the singers incorporated “a lot of songs that are popular now” into the a cappella set, according to senior Sam Larson.

“In past years there’s been like songs people don’t really know, but I think in this one everyone has heard these songs on the radio for the past year,” explained Larson. The showcase set included “Shake It Off”, “Rude”, “Chicken Fried”, “Stay With Me”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Royals”, “Mirrors” and “Lips Are Movin”.

Senior chamber singer Kelsey Raftis said, “All of our songs are really current this year, which at first people were a little bit not sure about it. They wanted to have it be some oldies, some unknown ones, but I think it was actually a really positive thing especially for elementary school kids because they’re singing along and they’re so excited [because] they know the songs.”

This year’s emphasis on top 40 hits was inspired by a professional musician in Nashville, Matt McDonald. “We’ve had a new guy directing it this year and he [McDonald] was in an acappella group.  And our teacher, Mr. Roberts, contacted him and so we all didn’t know him. But he was really nice, and he’s from Nashville, and he picked all our songs and arranged all of it,” said Raftis.

Rehearsing for the performance was chaotic, according to Larson. “It’s been a lot [of work] because we only have three weeks to put the whole show together. So it’s been really compact. And we’ve had two six hour rehearsals, and we have to come early in the morning and after school,” Larson said.

Raftis added, “It’s a really short amount of time, so it’s definitely, like, crammed in. But especially this year with the arrangements, they were a lot more simple than last year so we were able to learn it pretty fast, and we were able to go into dress rehearsals quickly. So that was nice.”

Some songs were easier to learn than others. According to Raftis, “Royals” was arranged by listening to the song for each vocal part. “Mirrors” was more difficult, Raftis said. “We have to go through and write solfeggi, which is like a sign, like do-re-mi-fa so, for each pitch,” she explained.

Lots of practice helped the singers perfect their songs. Larson said, “Just repetition is the best thing to do. We do it a lot.”

Performing at middle schools is especially important to Raftis because those visits are how she became interested in choir herself when she was younger. She said, “It’s funny because I actually wanted to be in Chamber when I was in middle school because of this show coming to JM. And I just thought it was the coolest thing ever and I’ve always sang. I’ve grown up doing musical theatre and stuff like that.”

Larson added, “We get to go perform for schools like the middle schools and elementary schools and I just like doing that. It went really well. I think the kids love it and I love performing for them so its fun.”

“Those [performances] are fun. It’s good for high school kids who love to do it and a lot of the middle schools kids that end up [coming] here. It’s something that they remember and then want to be a part of,” Roberts said.

Roberts said, “That’s always a goal that people are impacted by performances no matter where we perform. That’s your goal as a musician, as an artist, is to impact people, but we do get a fair amount of folks who see performances at JM as students and then come here and hope to be apart of them. I have a lot of students who tell me that.”

As this is Roberts’ fourth year at Campolindo, he hopes his teaching has encouraged his students “to be successful and have fun and to feel good about what they do, but also to challenge them so that they learn from it and that when they work hard they can sound good and feel good about what they’ve done.”