As springtime rolls around and flower petals fill the streets, students in the Seoul International School (SIS) music department begin to hurriedly prepare for their spring concerts that showcase the music they have been working on all semester. Following the precedent of the 2018 spring concert, the instrumental divisions of the music department and the choral division once again held separate concerts.
|[Photo of the pamphlet given to audience members as they walked into
the auditorium. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Lee]
In the past, because there were only two to three hours to squeeze in multiple tracks for almost ten different ensembles in band, strings, and choir, concerts were often rushed. Even with transitions and intermissions kept as short as possible, the showcases often ran overtime and left students and parents leaving for home by night. However, with only the choirs to perform in the concert, the concert not only ran at a more efficient and effective pace, but it also created a more laidback, relaxed atmosphere for both the choir family and audience members. Since last year was the first time the choirs received the opportunity to perform in a separate concert, it felt more like a test run to see whether splitting up with the instrumental ensembles would work well. However, because of the success of last year’s concert and positive responses from SIS community members and parents, there was a more experimental and creative edge to this year’s concert. With the performance slots that were typically taken up by the strings ensembles, bands, and orchestras now freed up, Whitney Meininger, the director of the choral department at SIS, incorporated fresh components to the concert that ultimately resulted in much applause from those who attended the concert.
|[The mass choir that opened up the spring choir concert was composed entirely of female singers. Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]|
Throughout the course of the concert, small groups, duos, and soloists from the Ambassadors choir, which is the audition choir at SIS, sang between the performances of large ensembles. Because the choir spring concerts are pop concert that use contemporary, musical theatre, and Disney music as repertoire, audience members felt comfortable to sing along and have fun with the relaxed small group performances. Angel Tak, a junior at SIS who performed with Meehee Park (11) and JJ Langham (12) said that, “I think that the small group performances allowed for us to expand a lot more both vocally and performance wise, because we were expected to make all our own harmonies and staging. Compared to other performances, the small group activities really contributed to a sense of accomplishment at the end. I think this concert was a lot better for the choir students primarily because it was entirely choir oriented, instead of being a time shared with the band. In addition, there was a lot more freedom in terms of staging and choreography thanks to the extra space without the chairs and instruments.”
For the first time in SIS history, staff and faculty members came together to rehearse and perform two pieces as the penultimate performance of the night. Teachers and employees at the school, as well as Ms. Meininger, gave up their lunch hours for months on end during the second semester to practice the music they had been given. Many of these staff choir members had never been in a choir before in their lives, and students were excited to see their teachers step out of their comfort zones and show a different side of themselves. In fact, their performance was the most anticipated part of the entire concert, as not even choir members were able to watch the staff choir during the dress rehearsals.
|[The staff choir at SIS faces their backs to the audience as they conclude their setlist.
Photo courtesy of SIS parents]
SIS choir students as a whole felt that this year’s choir concert was a step more innovative and creative than previous years. Lyme Cho, a junior at SIS who is part of Concert Choir, said, “I think this Spring concert was very special because we were able to have various performances we'd never had before in the past concerts. Students did individual performances and even the teachers got together to perform for the students and parents. I especially liked the mass choir song this year because the lyrics were touching, representing how students feel sometimes at school.”
Seoul International School
Rachel Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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