On Thursday, June 1, the Manhattan Country School community gathered for its first Spring Concert in our new home. Under the direction of Donavon Soumas and accompanied by piano played by Nehemiah Luckett, students in the 8-9s through eighth grade offered a performance that included songs both familiar and new.
The students opened with “Aya Ngena,” a traditional Zulu folk song, followed by “Woven As One.” Nehemiah invited the audience to join in on “We Shall Not Give Up the Fight,” the first of two freedom songs performed in the concert. The other was “Walk Together Children.”
In Spring Concert tradition, the 8-9s and 9-10s performed songs on their recorders--”Lightly Row” and “The Donkey,” respectively. As a gift to the students, Donavon and Nehemiah played a four-hand piano duet titled “There Is a Happy Land.”
For the third portion of the concert, the chorus was accompanied by the MCS Rock Band, featuring Tai on drums, Jonas on electric guitar, Jonah on bass and Aaron G. and Brandon on rhythm shaker and tambourine. Together they performed a collection of contemporary songs: “The Climb,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “Heal the World.”
Representatives from the Upper School chorus offered the following message prior to the closing number:
From all of us in the chorus, we say thank you for coming to our annual Spring Concert. As Upper School musicians, we’re learning how to contribute and blend our individual musical voices to our vocal sections—and from there to the collective chorus.
In recent weeks, in our class rehearsals, each vocal section began piecing together the melodies and harmonies, verses and choruses, tempos and dynamic levels in order to achieve a mini musical community or chorus that can operate in many ways like a thriving community at large. We know that if we work at something together we can make improvements and therefore a bigger difference.
Each song we sing is a unique message with sometimes close, dissonant, challenging harmonies and other times pleasant, consonant, easy-to-manage harmonic passages. As musicians, we’re learning to open our voices for others to hear while simultaneously navigating through all types of harmonic situations.
In the least, as individual neighborhood/communities of sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones and basses, we can continue to lend our voices to provide hope for peace, fairness, kindness, equal rights, happiness and justice for all—each individual expressing and contributing their musical line with similar yet different inflections and personalities.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our songs of freedom and encouragement this morning. But most of all, we hope you’ll join our musical intent to heal the world by being like a melody or a harmony—working together one voice, one vocal section, one chorus, one song and one concert at a time.
Again, thank you for your support in our music program.