The Malden High School Choral Art Society had another successful performance with their annual “ Winter Holiday Concert” directed by Choral Arts Director Todd Cole on December 21st. The concert was divided into three sections of performances from the Mixed Chorus, Madrigal Singers and the Concert Choir.
To start off the show, both the Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers sang the popular Christmas carol, “Silent Night” that was in a unique style, in which all the students lined up between the rows in the audience holding a lighted candle while singing in a melodious harmony.
Small soloist performances consisted of sophomore Francesca Seac, who sang a Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know?” receiving a standing ovation from the audience. Seniors Ramon Aguinaldo and Zack Dunphy had solo parts during the Madrigal and Concert Choir sections.
Toward the end of the show, a handful of the past MHS alumni came back to participate in the annual tradition of singing the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” along with Principal Lombardi and other teachers.
Senior Rita Ortiz has been apart of the Choral Arts Society since she came to Malden High during her freshman year. Specifically for this show, she was the Alto Section Leader in the Madrigal Singers group. Before the concert approached, she was “most looking forward to the night going smoothly and having a good last winter concert” because not only were the holiday songs added into that section happened to be “[her] favorite pieces
”, but [her] older sister, who was a former student of Cole as well before she graduated, was standing right by her side during the “O Holy Night” tradition.
Considering this is Ortiz’s last year, she has been applying to colleges and when she specifically described her Choir experience, she recalled that her favorite part “was the fact that [she comes back] to the same room, the same director, and the same people each year.” For her, having that same atmosphere in the program “gives the class more of a welcoming and family-like feel” in the sense that it was a truly fun program combined with learning, teaching and a fun environment to be apart of. Through the years participating in the program, Ortiz noticed that her and the other Choir members had a chance “to know each other and grow closer and closer each year” instead of the usual routine of sitting in a classroom with different teachers and classmates.
As for the challenges coming into the concert, an issue that she found difficult along for other students was trying to remain “confident” in her singing. Now looking back at her freshman year, she recalled moments where she “was very timid and nervous to even sing within the group” but as time went along, it was something that she overcame. During this year, she considers herself along with the other choir members as “lucky” that they were able to have overcome their fear of being afraid by letting loose, considering that it was something “hard to do”.
Cole described that “[his] number one criteria when preparing for these concerts is that [there is] quality music” and “something that is [going to] have [the students] become better singers”. Another criteria was that it was important to incorporate “ a wide variety of styles”, especially for this concert in which they included many pieces that covered different faiths and religions along with snow pieces.
Pacing the pieces quickly ahead of the concert was found difficult considering that they started rehearsing at the beginning of the school year and he realizes that students may find it weird that they’re practicing these holiday pieces before the season approached.
This year, he revealed that they had “ integrated the [boys in Choral Arts]” back into the big groups. He explained that the “Concert Cirque was different” and making sure that everyone was ok with that, because “some of the girls [have not] sung with guys in a couple of years”.
Cole also mentioned that he looks forward to having the alumni come back and sing the traditional O Holy Night with them. He finds it nice that they come back to support the chorus.