Vocal Ensemble


Natalia Ramos

Poster for the concert

The Spring Cabaret will premiere on May 27th at 6:30 pm through Taft’s website. While in the past, Vocal Ensemble, along with Choir and Guitar, hosted the Spring Concert, directed by Ms.Ramos. This time the event will be hosted by Vocal Ensemble, Theatre and Choir. Participants of the cabaret can’t wait for everyone to view their finished product though the making and all the hard work that has been undertaken to put together this event deserves a spotlight as well. Behind the scenes, the Vocal Ensemble had to find innovative ways to adapt to fix the vexing circumstances of distance performance.

Vocal Ensemble takes in multiple singers from different voice ranges and puts them together to sing in-sync. An obvious fact, but a crippling factor for the amount of in-person activities that could be done with the result of the virus. Despite not being able to see each other in person, and singing into a phone rather than with other members, editing allowed singers to stay in tune with each other and allow others to rewatch the performance.

Much like the Winter Concert, the Spring Cabernet will be an entirely virtual event. Due to this challenge, students had to learn from recordings, listen to them on repeat and record themselves doing an audio and video recording of the songs that will be heard in the concert.

Unlike previous events hosted by Vocal Ensemble, the addition of theatre compelled for a different style of performance. Cabaret is a style of entertainment where there are a collection of short performances formed together to make one show, made up of different styles of music, dance and sometimes theatre. This performance will include a dance at the beginning and multiple different performances and solos from singers like Kaitlyn Levitt, Holland Folwell, and Zenna Aghajanian. This will be the first time a concert will include Theatre and the first time Vocal Ensemble will sing songs entirely composed for musicals.

To many of the singers involved, this concert meant different things.

“It’s kinda like a light in the dark situation here, it’s not the greatest thing we could possibly achieve but it’s better than nothing, so I feel at least being able to have your voice heard in some way is better than nothing,” says Daniel Danon, from the tenor section.

For others like Isabella Ochoa, the leader of the alto section, it makes her feel,”some sort of normalcy, because I know things are obviously not the same but it still makes me feel connected,because this is my 3rd year with choir/vocal so it’s just makes me feel a little bit normal since this is my 6th concert.”

For Zenna Aghajanian, a new member to Vocal Ensemble, who didn’t have a chance to meet many other members in person, this cabaret has a very different meaning as well. “What’s really special to me is that, even though I haven’t met a lot of the other students that I working with here, in the soprano section, I feel a sort of closeness with them, when we go to submit our video recordings on the Google Drive, I see these people’s faces and I haven’t met [many of the members] but I feel very close to you in this very unique and special way.”

And for other returning members, they were glad that the concert could still go on,”My senior year was trashed but at least I still have this concert,”Evan Danu, another Vocal Ensemble leader, commented.

Though the cabaret had different meanings for many people the main meaning of this concert was to,as Ms. Ramos put it, “Show our experience from Covid from the world of musicals, to show what we’ve gone through but despite it all there is a lot of hope.”

Many students spent around four hours total -across different days- doing their recordings and trying to make them perfect, including setting up and finding the right time to sing when there were no distractions or noises.

“It can be a bit harder rather than easier for some of us, especially when it comes to making videos,” says Daniel. Some students had to set up a space to record rather than just find an empty white wall in their house where no one would bother them.“ Personally it was a little bit of a challenge because I don’t have many free spaces in my house, so I ended up setting my camera, which is my phone, up in one of my linen closets, facing my door in a narrow hallway.”

Members also had to wear concert black for all of our recordings to make sure they looked professional and neat which for some like Isabella included makeup and for others like Evan,”I put on the dress code, moved my dresser, turned on some lights, turned on my video camera (on his phone), pressed record, did some [recordings], called it a day.”

In theatre, many of the members have their own solos, duets and even trios in which you will be able to see each interesting way they dealt with our current challenges.

As stated, there have been many struggles in producing the concert, but in addition to voicing their struggles, singers also expressed what the best part of the concert was for them and how they thought Covid had made a difference.

“Being exposed to music that I’m normally not exposed to especially with this one because I’m not really a musical theatre person,” but Zenna also remarked that because of this concert she found a new love for the art,”That’s a really exciting aspect of this entire thing for me, being exposed to something I’m not used to and enjoying it a lot.”

For some, the best part was something that Covid introduced. “I think the best part would definitely be working in this breakout room because everyone here is really nice and really friendly, everyones been helpful, everyone’s been doing their videos, you can’t really complain about that,” says Evan.

“Being able to sing. I’ve always loved to sing and just having the opportunity, being given songs and songs that I do like, it made me feel happy,” says Isabella,” We can’t hear each other in person, there’s difficulty with that because it doesn’t feel blended, but in the end i think it will all come together, and I still think it will be a good show even though it’s a little bit different.”

“It may sound easier to do everything but it’s really hard, like, with the technology you have, the services you have, so especially when you can’t hear anybody, you can’t hear your peers, I can’t really relate my voice to anyone,” Even though members don’t have the ability to be with each other the resources they were given still gave them joy by letting their voices be heard,especially with a new style of songs.“The best part would be heading into the more musical side of things, not only are they really relatable, but they’re just really fun to sing, you can really let your voice out on them, this isn’t a classical choir song this is not a poppy song this is just something you can get into.”

This virus has affected us in many different ways and influenced us to try many different things and I’m very glad to have been a part of this cabaret. No matter the struggles, we remain resilient.