Malden Choir Sings out at Massachusetts State House

Since 2007, the Malden High School Choir has visited the Massachusetts State House annually, and year after year, they bring out everything they have, leaving the crowd in awe. Several state house workers come out of their offices and rooms to take a break and soak in the musical phenomena that is the Malden Choral Arts Society. 

Waking up early, the students congregated in Todd Cole's classroom, the choir teacher who has shaped minds for over 20 years at Malden High. Before the morning bell rang, students rushed through the room to dress up, warm up, and prepare for the day that was to come. Friends were helping friends and classmates were bonding with classmates—all under the supervision of one superman of music. Cole stated that “this year was great because we had our date locked in stone since the summer so we knew exactly when we had to be ready by, as opposed to last year,” detailing how last time, their date wasn't confirmed until later in the year.

Senior Marge Rosas commented on his nervousness that morning: “I was a bit nervous, but after we did warm-ups and Mr. Cole told us our itinerary for the day, I felt a little better!” While he was worried about how he presented himself, he knew once the event was over that he did his absolute best.

With help from chaperones and senior members of the choir, everyone got onto one of two buses to begin the morning commute into Boston. As the sights of the city rolled by, the society was dedicated to getting their music right. Later, Cole would elaborate on his choice of songs, saying, “90% of the music is brand new. There are a few things that we do every year such as ‘Oh Holy Night,’ ‘Fum Fum Fum’ and ‘Carol of the Bells’.” With smiles on their faces, warmth in their souls, and fires burning in their hearts, the class exited the buses determined to give the best performance the state house had seen yet. 

Filing past the entrance, the society made their way to the grand staircase where they would be putting on their concert later that day. After some preparation overseen by Cole, the choir was ready to go, but first, they were presented with a complimentary tour provided by the finest guides in the state house. From the inner chambers to portraits of past governors, the choir was intrigued by each passing exhibit. 

Four-year member of the choir, James Song, commented on the return, saying how it felt busier than usual. “It might have been a little shocking since we had never seen that many before at The State House.”

After the gracious tour, the choir began final preparations, including a student cameraman who would stream the performance to friends, family, and viewers worldwide. As the clock struck twelve, Cole stepped in front of the choir to give a heartfelt speech, thanking the state house for hosting them and introducing his students to their audience. 

The choir, principal Mastrangelo, and other representatives line up to take a picture. ZACHARY NEDELL

The choir began the concert with a stunning performance of the “National Anthem,” followed up by “Amazing Grace” arranged by Ed Lojeski, “When You Believe” from “The Prince of Egypt” arranged by Audrey Snyder, and “On with the Snow,” a festive mashup of classics arranged by Douglas E. Wagner. While these first four songs were to show The State House what the choir could do, they were followed by sophomore Esther Howse singing a haunting rendition of “Coventry Carol.”

Esther Howse being applauded after his solo. ZACHARY NEDELL
Thalyta Andrade performing her solo. ZACHARY NEDELL

After his solo, Madrigal singers took to the stage to sing five festive songs, starting with “The Hanukkah Song” arranged by Deke Sharon, “The World For Christmas,” “Fum, Fum, Fum” arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw, “A Wish For Hanukkah” by Lois Brwonsey and Marti Lunn Lantz, and finishing with “Carol of the Bells” arranged by Peter J. Wilhousky. Following that, sophomore Thalyta Andrade took to the stage to present “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

Afterward, the Concert Choir took to the staircase again to present the final five songs of the day. “Once Upon A December” arranged by Audrey Snyder was their opening followed by “Pat - A - Pan,” “Eight Days Of Lights,” and “O, Holy Night”. By then, the choir had known that they would have to give everything they had left for their final song, “Silent Night,” and they did just that. After the last note faded, strangers, family, friends, and alumni of the Choral Arts Society rose from their seats to give the students their much-deserved standing ovation. That day, the Malden Choral Arts Society knew just how much their voices meant not just to Malden, but to all of Massachusetts.

Friends relax and celebrate after their performance. ZACHARY NEDELL

Cole elaborated on the impact left as even out-of-country viewers approached the Choir to congratulate them on their amazing performance. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to go there every year. I know that there are scores and scores of choirs around the Commonwealth and we are one of them that are lucky enough to go to this event thanks to our representatives that sponsor us to go sing on that grand staircase,” Cole stated.

Sharing smiles and personal feelings, the choir took a minute to unwind and relax, snacking on cookies provided by the state house. After a while, Cole gathered up the students and chaperones and the Choral Arts Society made their way out of the state house knowing that they made people's days and provided Beacon Hill with an outstanding afternoon. 

Left: Seniors take a serious photo. Right: Seniors take a silly photo. ZACHARY NEDELL

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