Fall Classic Opens Choral Season

Annette Ungermann, Staff Writer

Women’s choir performed in the Fall Choral Classic at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian church on October 13. This annual day-long workshop and concert included Campolindo’s Bel Canto and Women’s Ensemble, as well as choir groups from Miramonte and Acalanes.

All choirs performed Latin song “Veni Domine” and Spanish piece “Gracias a la Vida” together as a single body although preparation was done separately as each choir’s school site in the month preceding the event.

For the Campolindo vocalists the music was first rehearsed during an intensive weekend-long retreat on September 16-18. it was practiced again in 2 lunch rehearsals the week before the concert.

The timeline for introducing and then mastering the various songs performed at the event was shorter than for most other choir concerts produced by the district’s music departments primarily because it is the 1st performance of the school year.

“I would have preferred if we were a little further along in our rehearsal process leading up to the day. I think ultimately the concert came together really well, and throughout the day [the students] were efficient,” said Campolindo choir conductor Mark Roberts.

“In Bel Canto I felt like we were all very prepared, we had been working on these songs since before the first day of school,” said sophomore Arriana Glenn, member of Bel Canto and Women’s Ensemble. “In the last couple months we’ve been really working on dynamics and putting meaning to what we’re saying.”

Guest clinician Martín Benvenuto worked with all choirs as they rehearsed both the district-wide and individual group pieces, giving advice to each ensemble.

“Dr. Benvenuto did a good job layering the rehearsals so that there was marked improvement at the end. So ultimately I was pleased,” said Roberts. “I thought [Benvenuto’s] comments were very insightful. He provided context not just about the pieces but from his personal experience that allowed the students to connect more with the piece and the culture and the text… I was really impressed with his abilities.”

As each school’s choir rehearsed, all other students were given the opportunity to sit in and listen to Benvenuto’s constructive feedback.

“It’s been interesting to see the other choirs and how similar we all are,” said sophomore and Women’s Ensemble member Claire Sebree. “We all struggle with the same things, and do well in different areas. There is definitely a little sense of competition- but it’s friendly.”

“We’ll have more time before the winter concert to prepare,” said Glenn. “So that will be another adventure.”