On Oct. 16, the choral department of Van Nuys High School introduced the fall season with its first concert of the school year. The auditorium buzzed with excitement as eager students waited for the long-anticipated performances. The concert began with sophomore Olyvia Baek’s solo performance of “We Dance,” originally by Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger. Her soothing performance set the tone for the night.
The show went on as Vocal Ensemble performed three songs, accompanied by Raymond Justice. The first song, “Benedicamus Domino,” a Roman piece used for Mass, a Catholic act of worship, blessed the audience with a pleasant six-part harmonization and mixture of notes. The group ended their performance with the traditional American folk song, “Billy Boy,” arranged by Mark Hayes.
The concert smoothly coordinated solos between each group performance. The next soloists to perform were Jamie Lee with “I Go To Sleep” and Sherlyn Mae Villasis with “On The Wings of Love.” Each soloist showed the audience her individual talents as a vocalist.
Van Nuys’ most advanced vocal group, Vannaires, came onto the stage, ready to belt out their songs to the awaiting audience. They started off their first song, “Brown Eyed Girl,” a classic rock song by Van Morrison. The group then transitioned to a beautiful acappella piece that captured the audience’s hearts with its luxuriant harmonies and female solo. Their last song is a well-known, upbeat song, “Drive By,” arranged by Philip Lawsom, and it had the audience singing along.
After the intermission, two more soloists came on the scene with vibrant and powerful voices, Nel Nario singing Beyonce’s “Love on Top” and Kaela Westfall singing Kellin Quinn’s “James Dean and Audrey Hepburn.”
The Women’s Ensemble was the second vocal group with a melange of songs that hit hard for some students; “Things That Never Die” conveyed a message to strive for better hope, and “O Vos Omnes” was an advanced classical and melancholy piece that cried out, “Can you find a sorrow as sad as mine?” The group’s final song, “Sih’r Khalaq,” explored a different culture as it featured Arabic rhythms and textures that proclaimed that magic exists and grows in art and permeates the soul.
The final solos of the night took stage: Aram Antonyan sang “Marriage de Amor” and Gabi Rochblatt and Olivia Rodriguez sang “An Awkward Duet.” Justine Yap, a soprano from Women’s Ensemble, stated, “‘The Awkward Duet’ was really comedic, and the harmonies were on fleek!” The two vocalists also incorporated comedy and acting into their entertaining and theatrical performance.
The final performance to hit the stage was that of the Vannaires. With four incredibly well-composed and breathtaking songs, they sang the last song of the concert, “Time after Time,” a jazz standard written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.
As always, Mrs. Brianne Arevalo didn’t fail to impress with all the hard work that went into each and every note. Judging by these performances, we can’t help but expect great things for the next concert!
— Lauren Yu