Friday, April 29, 2011

What We're Up To: Concert Choir Tour to Worcester and Shrewsbury

By: Maddie Mechem, Concert Choir
Maddie has been in BCC for 4 years. She is 15 years old.

The first weekend of April, Concert Choir went on a three-concert excursion to Worchester and Shrewsbury, just about two hours outside Boston. Our first performance was with the Worcester Children’s Chorus and the Young People’s Chorus. These choirs are really good, and were really similar to BCC, especially in the professional, engaging way they performed. It looked like they were having fun but taking it seriously, and that is what we try to do.

Concert Choir Performs at Wesley United Methodist Church
Our first concert was in the Wesley United Methodist Church, at a benefit concert for CASA. CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) is an organization that provides abused or neglected children with volunteers who support them through the legal and social services systems. As part of participating in this concert, we were asked to donate books to CASA, which we did. The money raised from the concert was given to CASA, to help them continue their efforts to help children. All three of the choirs performed several songs by themselves, and all three came together to perform Sahayta (“helpfulness” in Sanskrit), which uses words from about 14 languages to express peace, and We Will, which carries a message of hope. These two were the finale pieces, and after these, we went to meet up with our home-stay families.

A home-stay involves two or more singers being put together in someone’s house to spend the night, with the idea being that they learn more about other people in the choir and in the communities we visit. For this home-stay, I was paired up with three other girls - Laura, Ify, and Madison, and we stayed with the LaBelle family. We all enjoyed talking to their daughter, Blair, and they were extremely nice to us.

After spending the night with our home-stays, we regrouped at First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, for a concert with their Youth Singers, during Sunday morning services. We sang four hymns, as well as Al Shlosha, a Hebrew text; This Is The Day, which is a gospel piece; and a chorale from Bach’s Cantata 1.

Concert Choir singers prepare for Sunday morning service
at First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury

Spencer with a spear at Higgins Armory Museum
After the service, we made the most of our free time before our concert later in the day, and went to the Higgins Armory Museum. This museum has pieces of armor from around the world, and from across the centuries, as well. Most of the choir went to an arms and armor demonstration, where volunteers could hold pieces of chain mail and weaponry. One Concert Choir member, Isaac, got to hold a piece of chain mail in his hand while the guide ran a hand-and-a-half sword over it (Isaac was totally fine, as the chain mail protected his hand). Another singer, Spencer, got to hold a spear, which was at least three feet taller than he is.

Author, Maddie Mechem, at the Armory Museum
After about two hours of touring the museum, we left for our final concert of the tour, also at First Congregational. We performed by ourselves, and sang most of the songs we’d been rehearsing over the past few weeks, including Oseh Shalom, Sahayta, This Is The Day, and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round. We also performed Pata Pa’ca, a song from Venezuela which was meant for a college level choir. The audience seemed impressed by that fact, and the fact that we did really well on it. After this last concert, we said goodbye to those who were leaving with their families, and packed up for the trip back to Boston. I think that, all in all, the tour let everyone in the choir come together and meet people they didn’t know all that well, and it is definitely an experience worth repeating.

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