All Souls Church was the perfect setting for incredibly beautiful singing on January 23 as the Allen-Stevenson Middle School and Upper School Choruses performed their Winter Choral Concert. While not the usual venue or time of year for the choruses to perform, it was, as Headmaster David Trower said referring to a hymn that suited this instance, "New occasions teach new duties."
The Middle School Chorus opened with the melodic sounds of "Sing a Song of Joyous New Year" by Wolfgang Mozart. Conductor Michelle Demko explained to the audience that together she and the chorus had added lyrics to the piece, in particular, the ending of "Olé! Olé!" which led nicely into the next song, "A-Zing-a-Za!", a Brazilian Folk Song, that took the listener on travels throughout the southern hemisphere. Accompanying the voices were: Jay Henry on the tambourine; Ford Holmén on the guiro; and Jaison Spain '97 on the shaker. To close, the Middle School Chorus sang the entertaining American Folk Song, "Crawdad Hole."
Next up, the Upper School Chorus performed a patriotic American-themed piece comprised of three upbeat songs by George M. Cohan – "Yankee Doodle Boy", "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "You’re a Grand Old Flag" – which have been arranged by Greg Gilpin into a medley called "Cohan’s Big Three!". This was followed by the spiritual sounds of “Swing Down Chariot”, which was enhanced with the sweet voice of soloist Nolan Dando-Haenisch '20.
To close the two choruses came together to sing a resounding "River in Judea". It was such a delight to see and hear all these boys sing together…with Chorus Assistant and chorus alumnus Jaison Spain ’97 joining them.
Thank you to Aleeza Meir for the exquisite piano accompaniment, Mr. Spain for all of his work behind the scenes and on the stage, and Ms. Demko for inspiring and challenging the boys to reach new heights with their music.