The arches of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Chestnut Hill were filled with high school voices on Saturday night, as Springside Chestnut HIll Academy hosted three local high schools for their very first A Cappella Night.
William Penn Charter, Germantown Friends School (GFS), and the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) were all invited to share the stage with Springside Chestnut Hill’s Chamber Singers, Hilltones, and Laurelei.
The night opened with the SCH Chamber Singers, directed by Chris McGInley and Roland Woehr, doing “Voice Dance” and showcasing a wonderful range of student voices. The Chamber Singers also re-appeared later in the evening with a spirited version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”
Directed by Joe Fitzmartin, Penn Charter Quaker’s Dozen graced the stage next. The versatile Quaker’s Dozen started things off with a gorgeous rendition of “Hold Me, Rock Me,” followed up with a stunning version of “Shenandoah” and ending with the montage “Finale from Hair.”
Directed by Allen Drew, the GFS A Cappella’s repertoire included everything from the rich choral harmonies of “Happy Ending” to the soulful performance of “Madness” to a ridiculously fun and crowd-pleasing old school rap medley which revived favorites such as “It’s Tricky” and “Bust A Move.”
Directed by Roland Woehr , the SCH Hilltones wowed the crowd with an impressively smooth rendition of “Good Ol’ A Cappella,” followed up with the popular “Rolling the Deep,” highlighting the talents of soloist Aska Cheung. The Hilltones continued with the pleasantly surprising selection of “Black Muddy River” led by soloist Graham Allen, and closed with the wonderfully harmonious “Bring it On Home to Me.”
Directed by Chris McGInley, SCH Laurelei soloists led their first three songs. Molly Dugan filled the church with her striking rendition of “Bottom of the River,” Kara Barrist channeled her inner Bonnie Raitt with “Can’t Make You Love Me,” and Mariel Soto Reyes followed with a beautiful rendition of “Your Song”. The group finished their set with a clearly nostalgic Disney medley.
The evening was capped off with a performance from the highly acclaimed CAPA Concert Choir, directed by Dorina C. Morrow. SCH senior and Hilltones president Graham Allen found himself inspired by CAPA’s performance, “The level of skill and the professionalism with which they presented themselves set the standard for choral music. They were absolutely in tune with their director while also displaying their individual talents in a polished, yet soulful manner.”
With numbers ranging from “Joshua Fought the Battle at Jericho” to a mashup of Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” and Bon Iver’s “Woods,” the CAPA performance demonstrated the group’s range, stage presence, and ability to fill such a large venue with powerfully harmonious voices.
The night was a rousing success thanks to the dedication of SCH Directors, Roland Woehr Jr. and Christopher G. McGinley who worked tirelessly to pull the event together. Proceeds from the evening go towards the SCH international tour to Quebec City and Montreal scheduled for this June.