Gospel Choir performance at Westover School

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By Yuhao “Howard” Li, Class of ’19

The South Kent School Gospel Choir has been busy rehearsing and preparing for performances this spring. The group was invited to an April 9 concert at Westover School, performing with the Westover girls and the students from Taft School.The director of the concert was Mr. Michael Brown, a gospel singer who also leads the South Kent Gospel Choir.

The concert started in a non-competitive environment and joyful music was played by Mr. Brown, which encouraged students to present their unique performances to the crowd.

All of the South Kent singers found it to be a wonderful experience. Mr. Brown worked his magic to bring people closer and turning the people in the room from strangers into a big family.

The SKS singers included Yuhao “Howard” Li ’19 , Zhaoyuan “Eric” Shu '17, Yunhai “Oliver” Zhao ’19, Shuyang “Russell” Liu ’18, Trevor Moore ’17 and Peter Curry ’17, as well as faculty members Ms. Lynn Mellis Worthington and Mrs. Cruz Zoeller.

The three songs South Kent performed were “Holy Ground,” “Trouble In My Way” and “You Raise Me Up.” The choir started with “Holy Ground” and everyone took charge of their own part and cooperated with each other, producing an outstanding combination that amazed the audience. The second song, “You Raise Me Up,” was a solo performance featuring Peter Curry, and the third song, “Trouble In My Way,” featured soloist Trevor Moore. The rest of the choir members were responsible for the chorus, background music, and creating echoes, which is an audio effect to make the song sounds more powerful.

“You guys were amazing. The performance was flawless,” said Mrs. Zoeller afterwards. She was delightedly spreading the good news to the choir.

Eric was highly satisfied with the result the singers produced.

“This is a great concert with no pressure from the competition and a perfect place for those who enjoys singing with Mr. Brown.”

Russell was also thrilled with the whole event.

“The performance was excellent. Although we made some mistakes, they were all understandable from our limited practicing time,” Russell said. “(I) hope next year there will be more people participate in this amazing event, so we can have more fun.”

The students also learned some valuable lessons from this invitational concert.

As one of the singers, I personally enjoyed the concert and felt that this was one of the best moments I’ve ever had. The concert was spectacular. I felt totally speechless when I heard the high pitches from the Westover girls. Their performance shocked me. The beautiful harmony and the instruments they played created a big picture in front of me.

I am a big fan of singing. I play a music app during my spare time, which provides an open stage for me to sing the song I prefer and share to the public.The concert, different from the app, was a real stage with eye contact between audiences and performers, which is a valuable experience to me.

The choir is looking forward to and preparing for its next performance in May at Hotchkiss School for the annual Gospel Fest. The choir members are now practicing new songs for one of the most prestigious independent school music events in the area next month.

Russell has some expectations for the upcoming event.

“The new songs that we are now practicing have some solo parts, which will be an exciting experience for me, Russell said. “Also, we now have a new member in our group, (and we are) looking forward to creating some chemical reactions at the next concert.”

“We are going to be a dark horse and surprise everyone,” Oliver predicted.

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