Performing Arts Spring Concert

Friends and families poured into the Chapel of De La Salle and his Brothers to attend the Spring Performing Arts Concert on Sunday, April 22. The MC Orchestra, Manhattones and Singers performed an array of musical pieces at the annual concert.

The MC Orchestra, directed by Gwendolyn Toth, Ph.D. performed five songs. The orchestra consisted of violins, violas, cellos, one double bass, flutes, oboes, clarinets, and French horns.

Sophomore Naomi Uy, who joined Orchestra in her freshman year, spoke about what the preparation for the concert entailed.

“Tons of rehearsals. We rehearsed every Monday night from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and we had some makeup rehearsals because we lost a lot with the snow days. We had some sectionals, some string stuff, athen full orchestra stuff” she said.

Her personal favorite piece to perform was “Bagatelle #1.”

“A lot of it is chromatic which means it sounds weird, like it sounds wrong to the ear, but it ends up being really pretty when all the pieces are put together,” Uy said.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 9.31.56 PM
Orchestra played on Apr. 18 in Smith Auditorium, they were the first to perform at the Spring Concert. ALEXA SCHMIDT/THE QUADRANGLE

The Orchestra started its performance with Mozart’s classic, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525”, which contained onen additional movement. They then played Antonin Dvorak’s “Bagatelle #1”, followed by Johann David Heinichen’s “Concerto in G major, S. 214”, which contained four movements.  Abigail Adams and Maria Nieto played violin and oboe solos, respectively.

The Orchestra then played Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel”, in which the flute and xylophone complimented each other for the entire duration of the piece. The last song, Mozart’s, “Symphony #41 in C major, ‘Jupiter’ K. 551”, with one additional movement, was the grand finale to the band’s performance. It really captured what the orchestra could play, and highlighted Dr. Toth’s capabilities as a conductor.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 9.31.38 PM
Junior Erin Keating performed her solo with Manhattones. ALEXA SCHMIDT/THE QUADRANGLE

After a quick change, the a cappella group, Manhattones took the stage. They started with Amber Run’s “I Found”, with solos by Erin Keating and Alexander van Vollenhoven. In the last minute or so, they added in some stomping and snapping to emphasize the beat. The next song, “Happy Together”, by The Turtles, was one the entire audience knew. As a happy-go-lucky song, it lifted everyone’s mood.

The last song they performed was Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”, with solos by Stephanie Butron and Jeffrey Liebowitz. They did an incredible job to capture the song’s intended meaning and raw emotion.

After that, MC Singers was the last group to perform, directed by Andrew Bauer.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 9.29.00 PM
SMC Singers was the last group to perform during the Spring Concert. To end the concert they sang Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” and Carly Simon’s “Let The River Run.” ALEXA SCHMIDT / THE QUADRANGLE

Senior Siobhán Noonan, and junior and president of Singers Erin Plitt, talked about the semester-long preparation for the concert.

“Singers prepares every Wednesday of the semester in Thomas Hall in the performing arts room. We get started on rehearsals right away at the beginning of the semester, sometimes removing and adding music to the program as we go along. This semester was tricky because of all the Wednesday snow days and breaks, so we ended up supplementing with extra rehearsals on Monday nights,” Noonan said.

“After the preparation that we’ve had to go through because of all the snow days, it’s been nice to see, especially as the president, the extra effort people have been willing to put in to Singers just to get our music to the best quality that we can. We have a lot more classical stuff than we normally don’t have, so I feel like the calibre of music that we’re doing is just higher than what we’ve done in the past,” Plitt added.

Bauer spoke about what songs are chosen for the concert. This will be his seventh.

“One thing that’s unique about the performing arts department at MC is that our members, which are students, have a very big say in what the repertoire is. Many, many times we draw from the student’s suggestions, or reportraire for pieces. Sometimes they will be pieces they did in high school, or in the past in other groups. Other times, students will hear something and say ‘oh, wow, we have a good choir, we can do that piece’,” Bauer said.

He continued.

“They listen to that and bring it in. And if I think it’s a good fit for us, technically, and as far as constraints of time, I try to incorporate the student’s ideas. I often tell people to email me stuff, email me ideas because we learn so much from the students and that’s a big treasure for us as educators,” he said.

At the concert, Singers started out with three Mozart pieces from his Vesperae solennes de confessore. They included “Dies Irae”, “Lacrimosa”, and “Laudate Dominum”, all sung in Latin.

Noonan had a breathtaking soprano solo in “Laudate Dominum” and did an incredible job, judging by the audience’s reaction. Her voice was strong and clear, and the audience was captured by her performance.

The last classical piece the group did was Eric Whitacre’s “Water Night”, which sounded great inside the chapel. To wrap it up, Singers then performed Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time”, and Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run”, which got people dancing in their seats and singing along.

The concert closed with the performers greeting their friends and families, and many said the concert was a success.

Bauer himself has been very pleased with Singers, and their growth over the years that he’s directed the group.

“The quality of the group has certainly gotten higher since I’ve been here. I think there’s been steady growth. We’re always trying to challenge ourselves by doing repertoire that’s maybe just a little bit out of our ability and makes you better when you try to approach things like that,” he said.