Chorus concert hits high notes

Mrs. Covington talks about the hard work of the students as they prepare to sing “Nutcracker Jingles”, one of the chorus’ finale songs in which all choruses participated. She always makes a point to thank the students, her accompanist and the parent volunteers.
Mrs. Covington talks about the hard work of the students as they prepare to sing “Nutcracker Jingles”, one of the chorus’ finale songs in which all choruses participated. She always makes a point to thank the students, her accompanist and the parent volunteers.

As usual, the Leesville High School chorus concert on Friday, December 7 was impressive and well put-together.

Diane Covington, choral director, always executes her concerts with gorgeous presentation and of course, beautiful choral music. However, as with most performances, the concert was not perfect and had a few noticeable issues.

The concert opened with a processional to Ethiopian carol “Issay, Issay” (Hear Ye, Hear Ye). Performers walked up the aisles and stood all around, which magnified the energy of the piece. The song filled the auditorium from all sides and created a gorgeous and full sound.

Next was the Beginning Chorus. They sung “Let the Praise Go Round”, “A Jubilant Gloria”, “Al Shlosha D’Varim”, and “Winter Storm”. Personally, my favorites were “A Jubilant Gloria” and “Winter Storm”. “A Jubilant Gloria” was the most vocally sound piece, and it really showcased the talented, beginning sopranos. “Winter Storm” was well done, and I really liked the piece itself, but I don’t think it had quite enough power to it.

Power and volume was a bit of a struggle with Beginning Chorus; they didn’t seem to have a very mature concept of using dynamics and tempo to convey the meaning of the song; in other words, they need to learn to follow the conductor. They were also very rigid, except for a select few, while singing: They didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves on the stage. But they are only beginning chorus, and it was their first concert. So, naturally, they were really nervous and probably didn’t perform to their full potential.

The beginning sopranos were great, and I think that they have a lot of potential. The beginning boys need lots of work though, they were not strong and a bit off key — I couldn’t hear them under the girls. This was especially noticeable because they had some parts in the songs that they sang by themselves, without the girls. If I were Mrs. Covington, I would have chosen a song that showcased the choir’s stronger part, the sopranos, rather than the weakest.

The all womens’ piece, “Juntos”, included beautiful harmonies and really showcased Mrs. Covington’s strong girls choir.

Intermediate chorus performed “Sicut Locutus Est”, “Erev Shel Shoshanim”, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow”, “Carol of the Bells” and “Sing Hey!”. My favorites out of all of these were “Erev Shel Shoshanim” and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”. “Erev Shel Shoshanim” was a beautiful song sung in Hebrew. “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let is Snow!” was my favorite because of the dissonant (in a good way) harmonies that added interest to an old Christmas song. I also really liked the vocal sliding in the song, it created more intense volume where it needed to be created.

Overall, the intermediate chorus performed very well. They had the best natural talent of all the choirs, as far as their boys go. Their girls are very talented, especially the altos. The girls in that choir seemed to find the perfect balance of soprano/alto voices, which is unusual because in most cases, the sopranos far overpower the alto section.

Amanda Duckett, Cara Rimmer, Hannah Duckett and Megan Hackman all sang “Swing Down Chariot” in a barbershop quartet. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the show. The girls were in sync and are talented enough to all sing different parts by themselves to harmonize with each other. They also included a dance to their song which lightened the mood.

The all boys piece, “Jingle Bells/ Feliz Navidad”, was a beautiful piece, but the male singers’ ability as a whole was not quite up to par. A bit pitchy and uncertain in parts, the mens’ choir just didn’t necessarily have the confidence, or skill, to sing that many parts at once. Mrs. Covington lost a lot of talented boys last year, and she just needs time to break her new singers in.

Next was Capital Pride — they were the best chorus by far. They sang “O Magnum Mysterium”, “And the Glory of the Lord”, “The Winter’s Night”, “We Three Kings” and “William Tell Overture”. I really enjoyed “We Three Kings” for its minor-sounding harmonies and “And the Glory of the Lord”, a gorgeous and classical piece by Handel from the Messiah. My favorite was the “William Tell Overture”–this upbeat piece was accompanied with a laughter-inducing dance.

All choruses graced the stage at the end with “Nutcracker Jingles”, a piece using the lyrics of “Jingle Bells” put to all different Christmas songs, and the always-compelling “Hallelujah Chorus”. “Jingle Bells” was a fun way to end the concert and it sounded great with all of the choruses in participation. The “Hallelujah Chorus” was, as always, very powerful — the whole audience stood for the singers’ grand finale.

Even though there were some things that the chorus can definitely improve on, the concert was well done overall. I can’t wait to go see the spring concert once the new choral members have practiced more  and have had a chance to improve.


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