This winter the music-co- curricular run by Music Director Daniel Roihl has expanded its repertoire and has many more students involved.
The group now includes 14 students: 10 girls and 4 boys, with representation from every grade level. “Last year it was all seniors, so that gave the group a different kind of feel,” said Mr. Roihl. “The fact that the group has students from every grade level this year creates a promising base for future years.”
When asked about what he was looking for during the audition process, Mr. Roihl said that he paid attention to how quickly the students could learn music, and most important, the sound of their voices. “The voice is a sort of window into the musical ear,” he said. “By listening to someone sing, you can learn a lot about them as an artist.”
Mr. Roihl mentioned a few different reasons behind his choice to expand the group. First and foremost, involving more people allows the group to explore a wider range of music. While the large group dynamic allows for more flexibility in choosing songs, there is still the option of splitting off into smaller groups and working on more individual pieces.
Sydney O’Connor ’14, a senior member of the group, praised this change: “Mr. Roihl has split us up into small groups to perform a vast array of repertoire. For example, I am singing in an all- female jazz quartet. This is great, because we are able to perform a larger range of music styles and focus on our voices individually instead of blending them all together, which is a nice change.”
Elena Jones ’14 feels the group has been running smoothly this winter. “Chamber singers has been going very well so far,” she said. “We performed in Greenwich at a Deerfield function last week and have lots of activities scheduled for the upcoming weeks. I am really looking forward to our singing tour in New York City at the end of March!”
In late March, Mr. Roihl will be taking the entire ensemble to New York City for four days. The group will perform at Riverside Church and spend time with a professional clinician who used to be a part of The Manhattan Transfer, a celebrated American mixed music group.
In the meantime, the group meets four days a week for almost two hours each day and has about half a dozen concerts set up throughout the remainder of the winter.
The group does a variety of different pieces, including jazz, gospel and contemporary. Although Mr. Roihl has often had to adapt the music as a result of the overwhelming number of female voices compared to male ones, the students have proven that they are up to the challenge: “Because most of us can read music, we are able to fly through songs at a much faster and more advanced rate than any other choir I have been in at Deerfield,” explained O’Connor.
“Everyone in the group is really dedicated and has been working really hard, and I think that our group sound and group dynamic reflect that well,” said student participant Nhyira Asante ’16. “We’re all really excited to see where this year takes us.”