by Mary Clementi, choir teacher
The 23 students of the Lakeside Concert Choir performed on stage at the National Association of Independent Schools’ National People of Color Conference (PoCC) on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Washington State Convention Center. This high-profile performance was an opportunity to sing in front of over 1,0000 conference attendees from around the world.
After an early morning Lakeside departure, students pulled up to the convention center while it was still dark out. The choir was guided to the stage for a sound check and dress rehearsal, which allowed the singers to get a feel for the room and gave the audio/video team a chance to prepare sound and light cues, and plan which shots of the choir they would show on huge projection screens.
An hour later, students took to the stage for their performance. They sang two pieces: “Trěs Cantos Nativos dos Indios Kraó” by Marcos Leite–a piece inspired by indigenous music from the Kraó people of the Amazon rainforest–and “Ngothando,” a contemporary South African piece about the power of love, composed by Mbuso Ndlovu. To prepare for these two pieces, students studied pronunciation of isiZulu, including its challenging “click” sounds. They also worked to simulate the sounds of the Amazon, imitating bird calls and the sounds of monkeys, frogs, wind, and rain throughout the piece.
The students’ performance was enthusiastically received by the audience of conference attendees. Students were buoyed by the cheering section of Lakeside faculty and administration attending the conference.
Singing at PoCC was a highlight for senior Jason L., who said, “That was one of the most exciting performance experiences of my life.” His feelings were echoed by his fellow singers who were still buzzing from their performance this week.
Thank you to everyone who supported the choir’s performance at PoCC, and encouraged us to audition for the opportunity.