Last Thursday, October 5, the combined effort of the Burlingame and San Mateo High School choirs put on an astounding performance at San Mateo Performing Arts Center at their annual fall concert. The choir brought back many of the timeless hits produced in the 90’s, continuing their theme of “The High School Years” from their previous fall concert which went back to the music of the 80’s.
The students brought back controversial issues and emotions with their selected songs including Wheels of a Dream and Back to Before from Ragtime, Black or White by Michael Jackson and more. Many parents cheered for their favorite songs and artists as they reminisced about their high school experiences. Shawn Reifschneider, choir director for Burlingame and San Mateo High, joined in, remembering his time in the 90’s with other audience members.
Reifschneider has been directing choir at BHS and SMHS for more than 12 years and been directing for over 23 years. He continues to enjoy teaching the students about different aspects of singing.
“My favorite part about choir is instilling the joy of making music in students” said Reifschneider.
He adds that over time he and his students have learned the responsibility they hold as being part of the choir.
“Everybody is taking individual responsibility for their part of the overall choral sound… in a choir class, if you don’t know your part, it harms us all”
Students demonstrated this responsibility in their performance, each contributing something different to the song. The concert included the combined efforts of the BHS and SMHS choir, concert choir and chamber singers. In addition to that many members of both choirs sang solos including sophomores Natasha-Kimberley Lopez and Sophie Aziza as well as junior Ryan Cheng and blank. Each soloist included their own spin on the songs, taking the sound of the 90’s and modernizing it.
The students all gave an overwhelming amount of support to their fellow choral members, despite the intense rivalry between the schools which make up the choir.
According to BHS concert choir singer, Sophie Aziza, “Singing with the San Mateo choir is so fun because our sound is so much bigger and more beautiful, that everyone forgets about the rivalry”.
Throughout the concert, as soloists from either school performed all members of the choir gave an overwhelming amount of support for one another. While we may be rivals on the football field, the members of the choir put aside their differences and come together up on the stage.
The BHS choir is a great opportunity for students to explore their passions for singing and learning more about both reading and writing music. The class is very interactive, according to Reifschneider and every student receives individual attention so as to improve.
“We take anybody, from whatever level they are at and help them to improve” adds Reifschneider.
The choir will perform later this year at their annual winter concert and will work to perform the major choral work Mass in G-Major by Franz Schubert.