Choir Celebrates Autumn at Fall Concert

By Yunoo Kim, Community & World News Editor

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  • Seniors Violet Rogers, Elsa Hughes, Sarah Sherwood, and Rachel Rusch hold hands while singing ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’. This song is sung at the end of every concert, and the seniors stand in front while performing this song. “‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ was a weird experience for me being a senior because I always felt like being at the front was such a far away in-the-future thing,” Sherwood said. “Now that I actually am [in the front], it’s kind of surreal,”

  • Elizabeth Wolf ’20 talks about how she feels about Assistant Choir Director Ms. Robin Harwell. In choir, there are director fan clubs, and Wolf is a part of Ms. Harwell’s fan club. “We give our directors treats, let them know how much we love and appreciate them, and tell the parents how important they are,” Wolf said.

  • Sarah Sherwood ’20 sings with Chamber. Chamber performed ‘The Lake Isle’, ‘Vechnaya Pamyat’, and ‘Unclouded Day’. “‘The Lake Isle’ was so pretty with the guitar and strings,” Sherwood said.

  • Elliot Kim ’21 is playing the violin with the Chamber choir. One of the songs Chamber choir performed, ‘The Lake Isle’, had a string quartet perform with the singers. “It was an eye-opening experience combining voices with string instruments,” Kim said.

  • Guitarist Phillip Brummett plays with the Chamber choir. Brummett is a friend of Head Choir Director Mr. Andre Clark.

  • Anna Wicker ’20 plays the piano with the Varsity Women’s choir. Wicker played the piano, violin, and sang during the concert. “It was a way for me to use all of my music skills because I’m going to be a music major,” Wicker said. “It was very beneficial for me to gain that experience, and I had a lot of fun.”

  • Maxfield Segrest ’20 is singing with the Chorale choir. Chorale choir performed ‘Amor Vittorioso’ and ‘Away from the Roll of the Sea’. “[Amor Vittorioso] has a different kind of singing than what I’m used to because you have to be really precise,” Segrest said. “You can’t have vibrato because all the harmonies need to line up perfectly.”

  • Head Choir Director Mr. Andre Clark is holding the Wreath of Khan. Mr. Clark’s fan club gave this wreath as a present during the concert. “[The Wreath of Khan] is a play on words. It is shaped like a traditional wreath and is a play on [The Wrath of Khan],” Mr. Clark said.

  • Juniors Helen Huang and Violet Burns are singing their solo in ‘Baba Yetu’. Huang and Burns are in Chamber. “It was exhilarating to be in front of the crowd have all the attention on you,” Huang said.

  • Concert Men is performing ‘Sansa Kroma’. Concert Men performed the song with interesting dance moves.

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To welcome the arrival of autumn, Westwood Choir’s voices echoed at the Fall Concert on Tuesday, Sept. 24. It was their first choir concert of the school year, and was held in Hope Presbyterian Church. The golden-lit church was filled with family and friends of choir members from various sections. 

“It’s always such an enjoyable time because we get to see members of the different choirs,” Keana Saberi ‘22 said. “It’s kind of like a bonding experience where we’re not separate choirs but we come together as one to blend as one unified group.” 

The concert started with the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) auditionees singing Bogoroditse Devo, a deep, moving Russian piece. The members lined up against the walls or on either side of the church pews, surrounding the audience with their voices. 

“I was conducting Bogoroditse Devo, and [watched the audience] have that experience of looking around and having the sound all around them,” Westwood’s Head Choir Director Andre Clark said. “And then also seeing those eyes look up like they were a part of the group; they were immersed in the experience as opposed to just being sung to or sung at. I’ve had more comments from parents and family about how that moves them more so than those things that we already knew about.” 

The Concert Women then performed Elegy and Letter From a Girl To The World. The latter was accompanied by percussion such as drums and maracas, emphasizing the challenging, proud tone of the song. The Concert Men followed them with Lady, to the Flowers Go and Sansa Kroma, an exciting piece that included the singers clapping over their heads in intervals. Sansa Kroma was led by Gabriel Paredes ‘23, and was the number met with the most enthusiastic applause from the audience. 

Chorale followed by singing Amor Vittorioso, a short and swift Italian piece, as well as Away from the Roll of the Sea. Varsity Women performed the soothing My Lord has Come, another TMEA audition piece, in addition to You are My Song. You are My Song is a slow and emotional number by Vandegrift Head Choir Director Michael Zook.

“My favorite song to perform was You are My Song because it was written by a Choir Director who works at Vandegrift, “ Rosie Deal ‘22 said. “And that was really cool because his husband came and we got to perform for them. It’s a really meaningful song to a lot of different people.”

Chamber sang three songs, including The Lake Isle, which was accompanied by a guitar and a string quartet. After their performance, there was a brief pause in which Mr. Clark and Assistant Choir Director Robin Harwell were presented with gifts such as cake and posters by the choir’s senior officers. Ms. Harwell recently became a Westwood staff member, and many officers expressed their gratitude to her. 

“Ms. Harwell brings new, great perspective [to the Westwood Choir],” Sejal Jain ‘20 said. 

To end the concert, all choirs stood on stage to perform Baba Yetu, a Grammy-winning Swahili song which has the unique background of being from a video game, Civilization IV. The song was led by Violet Burns ‘21 and Helen Huang ‘21, cheerful and invigorating compared to the more solemn selections performed. The final piece sung was The Lord Bless You and Keep You, a unifying, religious piece in which all choir members sang while interlocking arms and smiling. 

“Something I love is the traditions that we do like singing The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” Saberi said. “That’s something that’s been passed down even before Mr. Clark joined the Westwood family, so it’s always been integral for us.”

The concert ended with much applause, and the choir gathered to take pictures with their loved ones. Numerous members will be advancing to the second round of TMEA auditions at Stony Point High School on Monday, Oct. 7. 

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