- Performing Arts
By Autri Basu ’23
On April 21, Lawrenceville hosted its annual Spring Choral Concert in the Edith Memorial Chapel. Alongside being the culmination of The Lawrentians’ and Lawrenceville Singers’ hard work throughout the school year, the concert was the final performance for the Fifth Form vocalists of the Class of 2023.
Director of Music Robert Palmer intentionally chooses each song being performed so that they “have something to teach” the vocalists, whether that be vocal techniques, musicianship skills, or adapting to different rhythmic structures. Palmer also works to include a wide variety of genres within the ensembles’ repertoire; this concert featured everything from classical works by Haydn and Handel and pop tunes from the “Great American Song Book” of the 1930s-1960s to arrangements of ancient Roman poems and Appalachian folk songs.
Throughout the rehearsal process, Palmer had to make a number of changes to adapt the songs to this year’s group of Lawrentians. Although many students in the ensemble had strong bass voices, there were only two that properly fit the tenor range, so Palmer “altered some of the music to transfer the tenor part of the altos,” which “switched around the harmony” in many situations. Over time, however, as the ensemble developed, Palmer has appreciated how The Lawrentians have “invested their own personality” into the songs and “embraced their own musicianship,” allowing them to truly make the music their own. Palmer also appreciates the energy and “positive spirit” that the Lawrenceville Singers have brought to the table this year, allowing Lawrenceville’s choral program to quickly revitalize itself in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Spring Choral Concert is particularly important because of how it serves as a thank you to the year’s departing seniors. Throughout the concert, each Fifth Former wears a corsage or boutonniere, and a large number of them perform solos within each song. Palmer’s favorite part of the concert, however, actually occurs quite late in the performance; after The Lawrentians perform a series of songs by themselves, he takes a moment to thank the Fifth Formers and their parents and music teachers, and then, the Lawrenceville Singers, having “heard and embraced the contributions the seniors have made,” return to the stage to sing the last few songs as a group. Palmer noted how he’ll miss the “palpable commitment” that the vocalists of the Class of 2023 have shown, maintaining their hard work even as they had to rehearse over Zoom, through masks, and on the Abbott Patio.
Constance Sharp ’24, a member of The Lawrentians, particularly enjoys being in the group because of how “it’s a lot of people working on something they care about, and…we laugh and we have fun, [but] we [also] focus on making really beautiful music.” She particularly admires her fellow members’ dedication to the group, as everyone has to give up their free period in order to participate. She finds the music in the concert to be “super fun and pretty,” and really enjoyed having the chance to perform it in front of her peers.
For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.