Concert Glee Club and Treble Choir rehearse for upcoming performances


Emily Salzhauer, Staff Writer

For the first time since the pandemic began, the Concert Glee Club and Treble Choir will sing in-person together for performance recordings. 

Last school year, members of the choirs recorded their parts at home for these performances, which Assistant Director of the Music Department Dr. Amir Khosrowpour then compiled,  Music Department Chair Timothy Ho said. This year, as COVID restrictions have loosened, the school has allowed students to sing together for a live group performance that is recorded by a film crew, Concert Glee Club member Tuhin Ghosh (12) said. “I am really glad that the school’s commitment to keeping us all safe has allowed us to sing again.”

The school will release the recorded group performances in three to four weeks in place of the typical advanced ensembles concert, Ho said. He also hopes the school will show the choir recordings at an assembly.

For their recording, the Treble Choir is performing a piece called “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down,” which is a “loud and in-your-face” gospel song, with Khosrowpour accompanying on the piano, Ho said. During the performance, the singers stomp and clap to the song, echoing the different notes and upbeat tempo, Treble Choir member Sofia Sepulveda (11) said. 

Difficult pieces like this song allow Treble Choir and Concert Glee Club member Coco Trentalancia (11) to be more expressive and venture into capabilities she did not know she had, she said. “It is my first year in Treble [Choir], so I love the difficulty and challenge.”

The vocal sections in “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down,” contribute to the piece in different ways, making the song’s dynamic especially interesting, Treble Choir member Molly Goldsmith (10) said. 

The Concert Glee Club will perform a large Hawaiian a capella piece called “Ku’i Ka Lono,” Ho said. The song is special to the Concert Glee Club because of the significance behind it, member Isabella Ciriello (10) said. The song is about the coronation of a Hawaiian King, which helped the students understand the celebratory feeling of the piece, she said.

 “Ku’i Ka Lono” is challenging since the lyrics are in Hawaiian, which requires the singers to use different intonation and pronunciation of the lyrics, Ciriello said. To ensure the singers have proper pronunciation, Ho breaks down the lyrics for the students to repeat back in the song’s rhythm.

The piece is also complicated because there are many splits — moments when tenors, basses, sopranos, and altos sing different sets of notes, Ghosh said. As such, it can be difficult to stay in tune since everyone is singing different notes around him, he said.

Still, Ghosh said he is excited to sing “Ku’i Ka Lono” because it is one of the few a capella songs that highlight tenor voices, allowing Ghosh’s range to shine in the piece. At certain points in the songs, tenors sing a multitude of notes while the other groups hold longer notes, he said. 

The choirs use class time to prepare for the recordings by splitting into groups based on their vocal range, Ciriello said. During each rehearsal, the choir practices the song many times to work on their technique and tone. In Treble Choir, they have also been blocking their performance and focusing on the smaller details, Sepulveda said. 

These practices take place in the Recital Hall for the Treble Choir and Gross Theater for the Concert Glee Club, Ho said. Although these spaces do not have ideal acoustics for the choir sound, they allow the choirs to practice in masks while properly distancing themselves from one another.

When rehearsing in Gross Theater, the performers blend and adjust their voices by listening to one another’s singing, Ghosh said. Last school year, when they recorded individually from home, they could not adjust their voices to the other singers, which made the experience more challenging, he said. “It is a different experience to be able to sing with everybody else.” 

Trentalancia also prefers singing in person, she said. “I feel like you get way more out of the experience, not only with your friends but with all the people who watch.”

While nothing compares to performing for a live audience, the recordings with the professional film crew will be able to capture beautiful shots and angles of the choir’s performance, Ho said. The recording will make a movie that the school’s community can enjoy online.

Ho hopes that the recordings will allow the singers to find the joy that they were not able to tap into last year, he said. “After a year of not singing, there is a different sense of appreciation for making music together.”