On February 23, the Burlingame Choir gave their annual Spring Concert, in conjunction with the San Mateo Choir. The concert was held at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center.
This year’s spring concert had a unique theme. The choirs performed songs mainly from three famous songwriters- George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. All three, were famous songwriters in the 1930s who played a pivotal role in pioneering classical American jazz music. Specifically, the BHS and San Mateo choirs decided to focus on these three composers, as they will be watching the play An American in Paris on their tour to Hollywood, whose musical score was crafted by George Gershwin.
“Asides from the fact that these are wonderful songs, performing and rehearsing this kind of music before watching the play will give us a greater appreciation and understanding of the play as a whole,” senior and choir member Joseph Howard said.
The concert featured a variety of soloists from BHS. Individual soloists included seniors Shawna Ho, Elyssa Alfi, and Jazmine Williams, sophomores Ryan Cheng and Abby Nix, along with freshman soloist Sonja Dommen. Many more students had solos within songs. The concert also included a sextet piece- featuring six senior choir members: Dara Phung, Isabella Hernandez, Shawna Ho, Tesia Cheung, and Elyssa Alfi. The six students performed an acapella of Blue Skies, by George Gershwin.
Many of the choir students believed the concert went very well.
“I think the concert was a big success. As a whole I thought that ensembles were good, we were balanced, and I thought a lot of soloists had a good grasp of jazz and the different composers. In the end, you could see that the practice really paid off,” senior and the president of Choir Club Tesia Cheung said.
Some of the underclassmen expressed an interesting perspective, as they are relatively new to the group.
“As a new member of the Chamber Singers, I must say the extra pieces of music I have to sing definitely require more time and effort. It has become a class where I have to dedicate time outside of the class to do well in,” sophomore and choir member Ryan Cheng said.
Students also cited the chance to work with the San Mateo choir as a fulfilling experience.
“Despite being rivals on the football field, I must say that many of the SMHS people are really nice. They are fun to talk to and are all in all nice people. I look forward to all the times we have concerts because it allows me to hang out with them,” Cheng said.
According to some choir members, performing with San Mateo was not only a way to meet new people, but a way to experiment with vocals and sound.
“It’s an interesting experience; it mimics how singing would be in higher up choirs, in the sense that you don’t know everyone’s voices, so it’s a nice to challenge to work together” said Cheung.
As mentioned earlier, the Burlingame Choir’s next endeavor will be preparing for their tour to Hollywood. The tour is from March 23rd to March 26th, and the choir has been preparing for the tour by practicing the music everyday in class- The Monday before tour, they will also have a practice with both choirs present.