Presentation’s Jazz is Swingin’


Photo courtesy of Michelle Pham

On Friday night, October 2, fifty Pres girls, including me, ditched our plaid skirts for elegant ensembles of white and black. The members of Cantabile, Pres’ freshman choir, and Bella Voce, the audition choir, starred in “All That Jazz,” a show that would help us earn money for our spring trip to Dublin.

In Bella Voce, we prepared for this event by learning the notes, feeling the swing, and researching artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. We also had guest clinicians come in to teach us how to sing in the jazz style.

Traditionally, we sing classical, so it was hard to adjust to the jazz singing style. There were a lot of weird rhythms and equally odd lyrics. The hardest part was being confident in the notes. Every time we sang a note, it sounded like nails to a chalkboard. However, that is the style of jazz, and when we all sang together, it actually sounded good!

Like every other concert, we have a specific time before the show that we are supposed to arrive. We needed our dresses, heels, makeup, and hair all prepped and ready to go. (Choir secret: Red lipstick is becoming a trend for every show!) Unlike all other concerts, we had to be ready to mingle and raise money for our trip!

Because we were raising money for such an expensive trip, the gala was very ornate. Everyone was dressed up and there were multiple silent auctions, along with appetizers and treats. Some of the centerpieces were hand-made pillows with the signatures of every Bella Voce member.

The food was delicious! My favorite hors d’oeuvre was the stuffed mushrooms. Other appetizers included bacon-wrapped dates, bruschetta, samoas, and more. Wine was also sold, but I didn’t have to worry about that.

Bella Voce and Cantabile worked hard to wow the crowd with various pieces by George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong, and the Beatles. In the music, there were a mix of tones and styles. One song was sassy, while another was sweet. The soulful “Swinging with the Saints” was based off of the classic “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Personally, my favorite song to perform was also one of the hardest of the night: “VoiceDance” by Greg Jasperse. This song is a capella and there are no real words in it. We split into four groups and we each sing a different line of music with a technique called scatting. While one group sang, “Bahhhh da do way Yahh Dahh Dahh,” another group sang, “Zinggggg Ohhhh Waaaahhh Dahhhh.”

Overall, the first Bella Voce Gala was a huge success. The theater was filled with jazz enthusiasts and the performers rocked their first concert of the season. As a senior, it is hard for me to think that this is my last year with such an amazing group of women. I look forward to the teamwork of Bella Voce as we take on the 2015-2016 school year and our Summer 2016 trip to Ireland.