Plain Local Quartet performs at fall choir concert


Grace Flock

Because of their job, school choir directors do not have many opportunities to showcase their vocal talent that they perfected in college for their degree. However, at the beginning of November, this all changed.

For the first time ever, four choir directors were given the opportunity to sing as soloists in GlenOak’s Fall Choir Concert. 

Four choir teachers, elementary choir directors Miranda Derbyshire and Issac Temelkoff, Glenwood Intermediate choir director Jessica Bell and Oakwood choir director Andrew Hall were featured as soloists in Chorale’s performance in the Fall Choir Concert. 

The song chosen was Regina Coeli, a piece composed by Mozart, and is seven minutes long. The piece was composed for four soloists, a choir, and a small orchestra consisting of strings, horns and drums. The song is very fast-paced, and the melody switches from the soloists, choir and orchestra many times throughout the piece. 

Choir director Brian Kieffer chose this song specifically for the quartet part in the song. After a long wait, the opportunity to invite the other choir directors in the district was something Kieffer did not want to pass up. 

“I chose the piece not only because I knew it would be wonderful for Chorale, but also because it had this quartet in it. Knowing the Plain Local vocal faculty, I knew we had some amazing singers in there,” Kieffer said. “I thought it was a wonderful way to grow the connection between the different schools and collaborate.”

For Regina Coeli, the four soloists were given the music to practice on their own, not practicing with the other soloists or the choir until the first rehearsal. 

“I knew all their voices from different [performances they were in] so it was nice to kind of watch and listen to everyone rev up their big classical voice,” Hall said. 

The piano rehearsal was the first night that Chorale was able to hear how the soloists fit into the piece as well as the first night where the soloists combined with Chorale to sing another song for the performance called Shalom. Shalom is composed by Dan Forrest, and when it was performed brought a deeper sense of peace with it.

Seniors Noel Adams and Josie Herttna performed in Shalom with Chorale, the song moving both. 

“I honestly didn’t expect it to be that touching but it was,” Adams said. “I was in the midst of parting ways with someone really close to me and so it honestly was so moving I cried as I walked out.” 

Similarly, the sense of peace in the song also touched Herttna, as she related it with the sense of grief. 

“My motivations while singing are to feel the music and really interpret the text to the audience,” Herttna said. “I think since it was all about peace and acceptance, it made me relate to the five stages of grief, the fifth being acceptance.”

Regina Coeli and Shalom were both songs that Kieffer chose to help Chorale grow in their music capabilities, and he allowed the choir to use their music as reference during the performance in order to show the choir how the music fit together through all of the different moving parts. 

“Usually when you’re doing more of an extended work with an accompaniment with an orchestra, you typically are going to use music,” Kieffer said. “Not only do they want you to be able to see where you sing, but to be able to look to see what the soloists and orchestra is doing, especially since we’ve only had one to two practices with them.”

Singing with music is typically reserved for higher level pieces that are normally sung by collegiate (college choirs) or even professional choirs. Because of this addition of singing with music, it shows that the Regina Coeli is considered a very professional piece, something that is not commonly done in high school performances. 

Even though the concert was performed at the beginning of November, it is available on DVD, and purchasing forms can be found in the choir room, or contact Brian

Kieffer at [email protected]