Upper school vocal group Bel Canto earned an “Excellent” rating at the California Music Educators Association’s Choral Festival in mid-March. The students were evaluated based on criteria including sound quality, technique, musicality and how they expressed song lyrics. They also were shown a short piece of music and given five minutes to learn and perform it for the judges.
“This festival was a really great venue for the students to learn about working toward a collective goal, which is to create a beautiful sound and musical expressiveness as a group,” said upper school music teacher Jennifer Sandusky, who directs Bel Canto. Because groups are not permitted to sing pieces that showcase one performer, the togetherness of the group is especially important. “The achievements they made were because each one of these singers worked together and supported each other.”
An added benefit of appearing at the festival was that it provided valuable experience in performing outside Harker. “After singing for months in my tiny room that isn’t acoustically designed for singing, they had to adjust to hearing themselves in a large auditorium with a concert grand piano supporting them,” Sandusky said. “For the first time, they were able to experience the music in a beautiful concert space, and they had to adjust balance, blend and performance energy accordingly without any rehearsal time in the space.”