Chorus Performs Annual Major Works Concert
This past Thursday, Hingham High School held its annual Major Works Concert, featuring music from German composer Heinrich Schütz and Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. This concert included music from many small pieces as well as from large movements such as Gloria, with solos from Olivia Barbuto, Rachel Warhaftig, Molly Schwall, and Olivia Monarch.
Dr. Joseph Young, the chorus teacher at Hingham High said in an interview, “Well, I knew we were going to Italy and having the chorus go to Italy inspired me to pick an italian composer and the Italian choral composers are best known for living and working during the Baroque era which was the 17th and 18th centuries. So then I just found a piece that was accessible for our students and thought that would be fun for them to do and significant and important for them to know about, and that’s how we got Vivaldi.”
Major Works Concerts at Hingham High are designed for chorus members to perform historically important pieces exactly the way they were intended to be performed, with the orchestra an all.
“[One piece is] something that is 20 minutes [to] 30 minutes long so it allows us to enjoy a single piece of music that is made up of many different parts…to listen to its entirety or to sing it that way is an experience that most people don’t always get and most high schools don’t often get to do, so it’s really important for us to do and is really fun,” Dr. Young shared.
“It was literally the best high school concert that I’ve conducted. There was no weak link, everything was sung accurately, beautifully, with enthusiasm and a sincere joy from our students for the music that they did. [I did not have a favorite movement, because there] really wasn’t one, it was all of them and how they worked together,” continued Dr. Young “And the pieces that we did in the beginning of the concert wouldn’t have been as beautiful, upon reflection, had we not done everything that followed. So I really can’t do that because the whole thing was just one singular experience for me.“
Another perspective of the concert comes from Will Maxwell, a freshman at Hingham High, who described, “One of my biggest ways to prepare was listening to the recordings provided by Dr. Young while following along in the musical score. Being able to associate the Latin words with complicated notes and rhythms while listening to help them helped me to better feel and learn the music. My favorite piece was Domine Fili Unigenite because I felt like I could feel the energy of the piece coursing through each and every person on the stage. I feel like this concert was by far our best performance yet. We sang with exceptional energy and I felt like that was conveyed to the audience very well.”
Hingham High School senior Shea Kushnir said, “I just listened to the recording over and over again and sang it over and over until the notes I was iffy on or any rhythms I was unsure of were fixed and solid. Cum Sancto Spiritu was so much fun for me because it was a challenging piece to learn but little by little it came together and it was so satisfying to celebrate that success with everyone in chorus during the concert. I thought the concert went swimmingly and better than ever. Though the church was a bit toasty, it wasn’t as hot and sticky as last year’s concert and each transition was well done. Everyone was comfortable with the music and very well prepared which allowed each of us to enjoy each piece and really get into it.”
Shea is only one of the many students who vocalized their love for this concert. For some students, this was the last chorus concert of their high school careers.
The concert was bittersweet. Junior Andrew Warhaftig was a valued member of Hingham High and the chorus program. These past weeks at Hingham were difficult for everyone close to him, and he was dearly missed during this past concert. Throughout the entire performance, the chorus sang in honor of his love for music and in honor of the great person he was.
Dr Young sums it up nicely when he says, “This concert was dedicated to Andrew Warhaftig. It was a real joy to present.”