By Will Foster ‘20
Payton’s Beginning Choirs held their Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 12, serenading the audience in the recital hall with a diverse set of pieces, from Christmas classics to a Brazilian folk song.
In addition to the two Beginning Choir classes, Payton’s acapella groups performed. The female Pieces of Perfection singers started off the evening by performing three selections. First was the solemn, gospel-tinged “Mama Who Bore Me,” complete with a solo by Katarzyna Skiba ‘18 and guitar accompaniment from Maria Byers ‘21. Next up was a harmonically rich arrangement of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes,” one of the musical highlights of the night. The group closed with a fascinating vocal arrangement of “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” which was originally written entirely for orchestra.
The Period 1 Beginning Choir section then sung the wintry, melancholy “Snow,” followed by the traditional Welsh song “All Through the Night.” Beginning Choir members had been preparing for months for their first concert, under the direction of Ms. Kate Johnston.
“Singing in front of a large crowd was definitely a new experience, and a new feeling,” said Sam Brody ‘20. “I had a lot of fun paying off what our class, and Ms. Johnson has worked for, and seeing the work of the other choir groups.”
The male acapella group, Sounds of Sweetness, came onstage wearing Santa hats, and gave a jolly, swaying barbershop-style performance. They sang “Shine On, Harvest Moon,” a popular song from 1908; “Mary, Did You Know?” in an arrangement originally sung by the popular modern acapella group Pentatonix; and “Jingle Bells.”
The Period 4 Beginning Choir section then performed “Artza Alinu,” a Hebrew dance song, and “‘Til the Walls Come Down,” a lively gospel song. To end the concert, they were joined by Period 1 to perform three selections: “Carol of the Bells”; “Rosa Amarella,” a Brazilian folk song; and the rousing, hopeful “We Are the World.”
Johnson told the audience that she had chosen “We Are the World,” which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985 as a benefit for African famine relief, in order to impart a sense of hope and empathy in a world that has been ravaged by natural disasters in the past year.
Indeed, the combined choirs made a stirring finale as they clapped and swayed from side to side, belting out the lyrics of togetherness.
Photos by Will Foster