Newly expanded Upper School Chorus performs creative pieces this Christmas

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From performing famous pop music to accompanying traditional Christmas songs with African drums, Convent of the Sacred Heart’s Upper School Chorus explores a spectrum of musical styles. The newly expanded group of freshmen and sophomores will perform three unique pieces at the annual Christmas Concert this year.
In past years, Sacred Heart offered Upper School Chorus to freshmen only. With the start of the 2015-16 school year, however, Middle School and Upper School Music Teacher Miss Annette Etheridge broadened the program to include sophomores. Miss Etheridge expanded the class because current sophomores who took the class last year requested to take it for a second year.
Upper School Chorus began as a prerequisite choral group for the larger, more widely known Upper School singing group, the Madrigals. In previous years, freshmen took the Chorus course and joined the Madrigals the following year.  While in Chorus, these freshmen learned the musical skills that Madrigals use to perform their more difficult music. Now, a total of 16 freshmen and sophomores comprise the Upper School Chorus.

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Upper School Chorus students play African         drums, ring tone chimes, and read sheet music.                              Juliette Guice ’17

The elective class meets every other day from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm. Students learn foundational music skills such as reading simple sheet music, breathing techniques for singing, annunciating, harmonizing, and sight singing, which is identifying and singing notes as they appear on sheet music without musical accompaniment.
Singers in Chorus learn to play instruments to accompany their music. This year, some students play tone chimes to sheet music while singing “Ring the Bells.”  Additionally, some students play the African drums to the song as a way to learn rhythm.
Sophomore Bridget Murphy has participated in three singing groups during her time in the Middle School at Sacred Heart, and has been playing the piano for nine years. This year, however, Bridget is taking Upper School Chorus for the first time.
Joining Chorus has given her the opportunity to improve her singing and meet new freshmen and sophomores who she does not often see outside of the class.
“I think it’s great getting to interact with the freshmen. I don’t see them too much due to my schedule. It’s also nice being able to see girls within my own grade,” Bridget said.
Bridget believes Chorus is a group that is fitting for students at any musical level.
“I would definitely recommend Chorus to anyone who has an interest in music,” Bridget said.
Sacred Heart students, families, and faculty can watch the chorus perform original renditions of Christmas music such as “Ring the Bells” and “Last Christmas” in Manhattanville College’s O’Byrne Chapel as part of the annual Christmas Concert December 16.

– Emily Coster, Staff Writer