Fall choral concert showcases songs from diverse cultures


Rina Chang

Chorale, one of the Upper School choirs, performs at the Fall Choral Concert, which took place on Oct. 15.

Rows of supportive friends and proud parents fill St. Luke’s sanctuary, chattering amongst themselves. The lights dim, and the crowd’s anticipatory buzz fades into silence, ready for the show to begin.

Kantorei performs “Dorven Dalai”

Used with permission from Gray Watson. To listen to the rest of the concert, click here.


During this year’s fall choral concert, the six St. John’s choirs performed songs that represented a variety of cultures. From singing an Islamic chant to hanging 1000 paper cranes from the ceiling, their repertoire demonstrated a focus on history.

Such cultural representation impacted their audience. Many listeners, moved by the performance, sent emails to the directors, expressing their joy and gratitude.

“One girl was happy to hear that her grandparents’ native tongue and her religion were both featured in songs,” junior Claire Huff said. “To hear us perform meant a lot to her because two parts of her cultural identity were represented.”

Although some songs were in different languages, the singers strove to understand them in order to portray the different cultures accurately. In preparation, they read the translations and analyzed recordings for proper pronunciation.

According to Gray Watson, the President of Chorale, the choir held a strong performance that demonstrated their vocal skills and hours of practice.

As with any team, a choir performs well when they feel connected to each other. Choral Director of Cantatores and Les Chanteuses Brendan Emig recalls a particularly fond memory from a Les Chanteuses lock-in.

“We got around the piano and just started singing,” Emig said. “Everyone passed around the microphone and we did karaoke. We had a good time. That was a really great bonding moment for us, and that really springboarded our learning to be able to perform as well we did on the concert.”