Gail Bowers leads Chamber Singers at choir concert (Photo: Jonathan Giron, The Puma Prensa)
by Jonathan Giron, staff writer
Maria Carrillo High School’s spectacular winter choir concert provided a sense of normality after two years of restrictions limiting the choir’s performances. Although masks were still in use and tickets were sold online, neither of those things affected the uplifting energy that captured the audience’s attention.
The concert commenced with the Jazz Choir singing “When I Fall in Love,” originally by Kirby Shaw, which was a sweet and soft melody that left the audience in awe. It included solos from Bella Zarate on Thursday and Grace Wright on Friday. The song was even more touching as Carrillo’s Choir teacher, Gail Bowers, dedicated the song to her husband in the audience. It was a wonderful way to start the concert and the energy in the atmosphere only increased from that point on.
Handbells were a crowd favorite after they played popular music from Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, which got some of the loudest applause of the night. Handbells were one of the most impressive parts of the concert. Junior Noah Vincent, who recently joined choir, explained that, “Handbells are very challenging as you have about 20 people playing 40 bells and everyone has to complete their part perfectly for it to sound good.”
One of my personal favorite parts of the show was the small Jazz Choir groups that took stage throughout the program. These smaller groups also meet outside of their regular class schedule and put in extra work to make these performances possible. With creative names like “The Bower Rangers” and “Sopranbros” that had the audience laughing, it was an excellent way to transition in between the larger groups, and with only around five to seven people in each group, it demonstrated how only a few voices can perform something wonderful.
Toward the end, Concert Choir and Chamber Singers took the stage each performing their share of great music. The Concert Choir had the theme of taking the audience on a “trip across the world”. Performing songs from New Zealand, Norway and the U.S, the segment included “The Wellerman,”“Vuelie” (popularly known from the Disney movie Frozen) and “Chain of Fools.” A lot of the audience members enjoyed these songs, and someone seated behind me was even humming along. Accompanist Janet Bertoli did a wonderful job playing the piano and helped make the songs even better. Chamber Singers ended the concert with a stunning performance, adding some choreographed movements that made it even more exciting to watch and listen to. The best song of the night in my opinion was “Jabberwocky,” by Sam Pottle, and many of the choir members agreed. “The piece is a recitation of the actual poem, just sung. It’s a fun ride,” said Vincent. Senior Maile Brucklacher, who performed Jabberwocky during the concert, said, “Jabberwocky was a lot of fun to rehearse and even more fun to perform,” adding “It’s a performance I’ll never forget”.
The concert was wonderfully put together. Bowers said, “It was the first time in two years where I felt students were back to being who they were.” Much of the success of the concert is credited to Bowers, with both Vincent and Brucklacher saying she is an “incredible choir director.” Brucklacher went into more depth saying, “It’s truly been a life changing class for me and I’ve grown so much as a musician these past four years.”
Choir will put on one more show before the end of this school year, and I definitely recommend going.