State High Choirs ‘Sing In’ the New Season


Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cole

All choirs smile after receiving a look of pride from director Erik Clayton after their combined performance of “Ave Verum” by W.A. Mozart. This is a song that Clayton loves the choirs to perform together and they performed it at the dedication ceremony earlier this year. “Hearing the different dynamics with everyone on stage is so interesting and hearing so many people in the different parts was so cool,” Jaqueline Lawrence, sophomore, said.

Emma Rockey, Staff Writer

After months of anticipation, the State High Choirs hosted their first concert of the year on November 4th.  This was their first concert in the school’s new performance hall, which was a reason for excitement throughout the concert.

Nicholas Cole, senior, has been a member of many choirs at State High since freshman year. “It was good, good acoustics and it was spacious–which were amenities we lacked in the previous space,” Cole said, “the large space and the acoustics amplified the performance to a higher level.” 

Jaqueline Lawrence, sophomore, also shared how it felt to be in the new space. “It was really nice, the acoustics were amazing, and I think it just has a totally different atmosphere of an actual performance theater than the one we were using before,” Lawrence said.  

Students arrived at 6:30 p.m. and crowded in the hallways of the new performance hall with nerves and excitement, waiting to warm up on stage. Once congregated on stage, the nerves lifted from the room and everyone’s focus shifted to giving their best performances.  

The concert commenced with opening remarks from teacher and director Erik Clayton, followed by the Sophomore Choir performing “Cantate Domino” composed by Guiseppe Pitoni, Claude-Michel Schönberg’s “On My Own” from Les Miserables, “Tell My Father” from The Civil War by Frank Wildhorn, and ended with Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” from Sweeney Todd

The next ensemble to perform was the Freshman Choir. They began their performance with “Verleih uns Frieden” composed by Felix Mendelssohn. This was followed by Stephen Schwartz’s “What Is This Feeling” from Wicked and “Hey There Delilah” by Tom Higgenson followed. Each of these songs featured different sections of the choir, the first featured the altos and sopranos and the second featured the tenors and basses. The choir joined back together for the annual performance of “Make Them Hear You” by Stephen Flaherty from Ragtime.

Treblemakers, the freshman and sophomore audition A cappella group, followed with “O Filii et Filiae,” composed by Vlockmar Leisring and “Set Me As A Seal,” composed by René Clausen.

The next ensemble to perform was OMA, the junior and senior all men’s choir.  They began their performance with the slower song, “Gentle Annie,” composed by Stephen Foster.  A still solemn, yet strong piece “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot followed.  To end their performance on a lighter note, “Silhouettes” by Frank Stay was sung a cappella and accompanied by the snapping of fingers by both the choir and audience.

Cecilian Singers, the junior and senior all-female choir, followed OMA. Their performance began with a light and hopeful piece, “I Will Lift Up My Voice” by Laura Farnell. This was followed by another light yet passionate piece titled “Nigra Sum” by Pablo Casals.  Their performance concluded with an energetic and fun “Climbing Over Rocky Mountains” by Arthur Sullivan from The Pirates of Penzance.

The eleventh and twelfth-grade audition a cappella group, Chamber Singers, performed “O Clap Your Hands Together” by Orlando Gibbons and concluded their performance with “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim.

 The Master Singers began their performance with “Os Justi” by Anton Bruckner, Frank Martin’s “Kyrie” from Mass of Double Choir, and finished with “The Battle of Jericho” by Moses Hogan.

“Jericho was my favorite piece, it’s such a cool piece and it sounded amazing in the new space,” Cole said. 

At the end of the concert, all the choirs joined together and performed “Ave Verum Corpus” by W.A. Mozart. “It makes everyone feel like a community, even if it’s just a song we all sung together, it just makes you feel closer to everybody, ” Lawrence said. 

All performances from the concert are available on the choir YouTube channel: State High Choirs.