Choir Power in Full Bloom: A Harmonious Hallelujah of Springtime Splendor

All Photos By Kesta Fang

After a year of practice and achievements, the Malden Choral Art Society gave their final performance of the year. Singing pieces “We Will Shine Like the Sun” and “The Turtle Dove” to even “Dancing Queen,” with guest alumni Maddie Lam, the singers would put on a concert for the ages. It took the singers a lot of time to prepare for the concert, as there were quite a handful of pieces that the Madrigal Singers and Concert Choir had to learn, whereas Mixed Chorus had multiple languages for the songs to learn. Senior Olivia Des reflected on her experience saying, “It took a good three months because we were learning French songs, so it was pretty hard to always get every note.”

Mixed choir performing "Ad Astra".

The music selection was chosen by Todd Cole, leader of the Choral Art Society. He began production for certain songs back in January and even as far as September. While some were used for the holiday concert, many were saved for this moment.

Cole also had to overcome several technical obstacles, including having to find an emergency pianist. “This year, we ran into an issue where our normal piano player was not available. So we were scrambling to find someone that had the skills to play that many songs to the level that we needed them to be played,” he explained. Luckily, everything went well for the choir in the end as Salem State professional pianist Sanae Kanda had the chops necessary to support and add an amazing addition to the audience’s experience. 

The week before the concert, the singers were doing everything possible to prepare. While overwhelming, many have experience in the production week, guiding anyone new through the storm. Through curveballs and success, the choir goes on to the big night. 

The night began with Mixed Chorus confidently taking the stage. After they were set up, Cole introduced the choir and began with “Scarborough Fair.” Though the music was difficult and the harmonizing tricky, the singers pushed through and had a fantastic performance.

Singer Maddie Lam supported with Madrigals.

Afterward, Madrigal Singers gracefully walked on, opening with a strong German piece. In the middle of their section, Lam made her appearance to sing her song “Violet Sky” with both music and vocals created by her, Madrigals running backup vocals. Senior Emmalyn Woods commented.“I think, probably the most fun I had preparing for the concert was probably rehearsing with Maddie Lam just because she's the sweetest thing I've ever met, and her song is just so beautiful.” Their set ended with a disco ball descending from the ceiling with teachers Colleen Ryan and Janine Gauvin breaking out their best moves as the Madrigals celebrated their final performance of the year with the nostalgic song “Dancing Queen.”

Most Madrigals reflected on their final piece and on the unique and fulfilling experience brought by dedicating their highschool career to this craft. Woods mentioned, “I had a lot of fun just sort of showing off my talent, especially during ‘Dancing Queen’ because that was probably the most fun I've ever had onstage ever!” The hard work of the Madrigals certainly paid off.

Concert choir singing one of their final songs.

Finally, the Concert Choir purposefully strode to the bleachers beginning with “Things That Never Die.” The week beforehand was tense for them as some still had music to memorize, but overall, the selection of songs was just right for them as it was neither too difficult nor too easy. Junior Karen Martinez described,“There were a variety of languages such as Italian, French, and Latin. It's really fun to sing in other languages.”

Heartfelt congratulations and goodbyes.

The concert ended on a melancholy note. Some seniors felt it to be as climactic as a season finale while others were trying to stand strong through the goodbyes. As all groups said goodbye to their seniors, Cole commented on the Class of ‘23 saying, “This group of seniors has had such a tough slog through COVID and their experience has been quite a bit different than any other group through what they started with and what they had to endure, and now they're walking out the door. I think knowing the journey that this particular group of seniors has been on is pretty special. Even though I've had larger groups of graduating seniors, all the names of these kids on the list of graduating seniors from Choral Arts are near and dear to my heart, and I know what they've gone through over these four years.”

A tradition of every senior class has been to give Cole a present as a farewell gift. This year, Michelle Dang gave the gift to Cole, mentioning how he loved to talk about his vacations and trips but how he never had anything more than a phone camera to capture the moment. As he opened the present, the audience was greeted with a Canon Eos Rebel T-7 Camera.

Cole described the camera and the sentiment, saying, “I thought it was a really thoughtful gift. They know how much I travel [and how] I frequently share my iPhone pictures with them after events, and I frequently ask them to submit any photos that they've taken throughout the year just as keepsakes and memories." Cole furthered this point, saying, "I've been having fun because I'm not a photographer. So it's fun for me to get my hands on a new piece of technology and figure out everything that it can do and try to maximize all that camera can do, and from what I know already, that's a pretty good camera in terms of what it's capable of."

Seniors with their roses.

As students left the building, many would miss the environment choir brought and the memories they made. As the Choral Art Society looked forward to new members and new beginnings, Cole described his sentiment for his graduated alumni, telling them to always come back whenever they want. “Get your wings and fly and be the best person that you can be in that new experience."

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