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Watchung Hills Spring Vocal Concert And Awards Concludes With Audience Participation In “Hallelujah Chorus”

Denis Kelly

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 • 1:17pm

WARREN, NJ - A chorus with some 109 members, an 84-member advanced chorus, various smaller singing ensembles, and senior soloists combined to draw enthusiastic responses from the audience in the Performing Arts Center, Friday, June 6, at the Watchung Hills Regional High School Spring Vocal Concert.
Between performances by groups and solo performances, the program included 23 songs. Toward the end of the night, the recipients of one Senior Choral Award and three Senior Choral Service Awards were named, and the awards were presented.
 
Winners of the Choral Service Awards are: Roy Curiale of Watchung, who plans to attend DePaul University, Chicago, Ill.; Wilbur Flores of Stirling, who plans to attend the County College of Morris, Randolph Township; and Jake Wasserman of Warren Township, who plans to attend Rutgers University, New Brunswick.Winner of the Senior Choral Award is Charlotte Finnerty of Warren Township, who plans to attend Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa.
 
The choral program is directed by Angela DiIorio Bird. Student musicians accompanied the singers in various combinations, playing piano, guitar, cello, clarinet, and percussion.
 
The songs performed throughout the evening included selections from opera, classical, Broadway, and the American songbook, as well as rock and roll. Among the rock and roll songs were: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles;  “Runaround Sue,” by Dion DiMucci of Dion and The Belmonts, and Ernest Maresca; “God Only Knows,” by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Tony Asher; “Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)” and “And So It Goes,” by Billy Joel; and “Somebody To Love,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by the rock band, Queen.
Among the selections from the world of opera was the “Anvil Chorus,” from the opera, “Il Trovatore,” by Giuseppe Verdi. Providing percussion in character by using hammers and striking an anvil were student singers Andrew Rotolo, Wilbur Flores and Dan Stapperfenne.
 
The songs from Broadway and the American songbook included: “Make Them Hear You,” from the musical, “ Ragtime;” “Someone To Watch Over Me,” by George and Ira Gershwin; a medley from “Jekyll and Hyde, The Musical;” and “I’m Gonna Wash The Man Right Out Of My Hair,” from the iconic musical, “South Pacific.”
Other notable selections included: A piece drawn from Jewish liturgy, “Ose Shalom (The One Who Makes Peace),” by John Leavitt, featuring soloist Allison Horvath, and flautist Katrina Howard, Clarinetist Isis Zhang, and Cellist Cecelia Shah; the popular uptempo African song with KiSwahili and English lyrics, “O Sifuni Mungu (All Creatures of Our God and King),” featuring soloists Krishti Bhaumik and Roy Curiale and percussionists Andrew Rotolo and Jake Wasserman; and the spiritual, “Keep Your Lamps.”
 
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” featuring all the student singers as one big chorus, and accompanied by David Willett on electric guitar and Joe Bouffard on drum kit, was a crowd-pleaser, providing a rousing last student-only performance of the night. It was followed by the presentation of the senior awards.
 
Then, in what is an annual tradition for the last song of the vocal concert, all alumni, family members, faculty, and members of the general public in attendance who are familiar with the classic piece by George Frederic Handel, are invited to join the full student combined chorus for the singing of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah.” The invited guests from the audience increased the on-stage performers by one-quarter to one-third, providing that much more volume to create a memorable end to the concert.
 
 
Photos by Denis Kelly
Choral Award Winners
One Senior Choral Award and three Senior Choral Service Awards were announced and presented toward the end of the Watchung Hills Regional High School Spring Vocal Concert, Friday, June 6, in the school’s Performing Arts Center. With Choral Director Angela DiIorio Bird, right, are, from left, Senior Service Award winner Roy Curiale of Watchung who plans to attend DePaul University, Chicago, Ill.; Senior Choral Award winner Charlotte Finnerty of Warren Township who plans to attend Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa.; and Senior Service Award winners Wilbur Flores of Stirling, who plans to attend County College of Morris, Randolph Township; and Jake Wasserman of Warren Township, who plans to attend Rutgers University.
 
Caption Rotolo Magidson
Among the numerous senior solo performances at the Watchung Hills Regional High School Spring Vocal Concert, Friday, June 6, in the school’s Performing Arts Center is this duet of “The Rains of Castamere,” written by Peter Hollens, and performed by, from left, Andrew Rotolo, singing and playing guitar, and Connor Magidson, singing. Before they started the song, Magidson explained that when he decided he wanted to perform “Castamere” as his solo, he asked Rotolo if he wanted to accompany him on guitar. Rotolo said, he separately had also decided to do “Castamere” for his solo performance, so the two decided to combine their efforts and perform it as a duet.
 
Caption select vocal Ensemble
In addition to the Combined Chorus, Advanced Chorus, and senior solo performances, the Spring Vocal Concert featured smaller “select” ensembles, including this all-women’s ensemble. This ensemble performed, “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair,” from the popular classic Broadway musical, “South Pacific,” and the song, “I Will be Earth,” by Gwyneth Walker. There were also an all-men’s ensemble, a combined ensemble and a barbershop quintet. The last song of the night, as has become a tradition for the Senior Vocal Concert, was Handel’s “The Messiah,” performed by all the students who sang at the concert as well as alumni, parents, friends and audience members who are familiar with the piece.
 
 
Caption Whole Chorus
 
When the whole Chorus sang at the Spring Vocal Concert, Friday, June 6, at Watchung Hills Regional High School, the stage of the school’s Performing Arts Center was full of student singers. Choral music director Angela DiIorio Bird, center, addresses the audience to introduce one of the concert’s numbers.

 

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