CHORAL MUSIC AT LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL
Lexington High School has enjoyed a rich history of excellence in choral music from as far back as the 1930s. Today the program consists of four curricular choirs, eight student-run collegiate style a cappella groups, and over 260 singers. Students in the choral program perform a wide range of challenging choral music representative of many styles, languages and time periods, including at least one major work each year. A typical season of repertoire includes selections from the great Western art canon, folk and multicultural music, vocal jazz, pop and musical theater. Last season, Lexington High School honors choruses performed the high school premiere of James Whitbourn’s Annelies. Other recent works include Carl Orff Carmina Burana, Leonard Bernstein Chichester Psalms, Gabriel Fauré Requiem, and Francis Poulenc Gloria, accompanied by a Lexington High School student orchestra. Emphasis in rehearsal is placed on the importance of individual contribution, and students take pride in preparing music outside of rehearsal time.
Lexington High School choruses are in high demand in the Greater Boston area, singing around thirty different performances in a typical season. The LHS Women’s Chorus is the newest ensemble at Lexington High School. In its eighth year, the group has garnered critical acclaim in the region. Last December, the group performed by invitation with the Concord Symphony under the direction of Richard Pittman. LHS Women’s Chorus was a member of the 2014 ACDA Women’s Commission Consortium, combining resources with 35 other women’s choral groups at the high school, college, community and professional levels to commission three female composers to create new choral works. Susan LaBarr’s Spring Shall Bloom was premiered at LHS in the spring of 2015 and performed throughout our China tour. Last season, Women’s Chorus premiered a brilliant work of Abbie Bettinis, A Blessing of Cranes, written to commemorate the victims of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The LHS Concert Choir is the oldest of the select ensembles, having been established in 1964. In 2014, Concert Choir commemorated its 50th anniversary with a choral commission from composer Matthew Harris. Last December, Concert Choir was special guest artist with the Back Bay Chorale conducted by Scott Allen Jarrett and was also featured in a special performance at the Massachusetts All-State Conference in Boston in March 2016. The LHS Madrigal Singers have been regionally recognized for outstanding music making since their inception in 1972. The Madrigal Singers, or “Mads,” is the smallest of the select ensembles. Performing without a conductor, this group focuses on chamber music ensemble skills. Madrigal Singers recently performed by invitation, appearing as guest artists with New England Conservatory choruses, as featured artists at the Old Ship Church’s (Hingham) Candlelight Concert Series, and as guest artist with world-renowned fiddler Eileen Ivers at Lexington's historic Cary Hall.
Lexington High School choral ensembles collaborate regularly with guest artists and clinicians, including composers James Whitbourn, Nathan Jones, Carson Cooman, Matthew Harris and Carol Barnett, Georgian music specialist Carl Linich, Chinese music expert Liwen Wang, Drs. Lynn Eustis, James Jordan, Peggy Dettwiler and Charlene Archibeque. The 2012-2013 season included a gala performance with members of the Lexington Symphony of Winter Light for award-winning composer, Michael Gandolfi. Our 2019-2020 season will include performances of Carmina Burana with the Lexington Symphony, a masterclass and gala performance by musical theatre diva, Sara Jean Ford, and a week-long residency with Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and music directory of the acclaimed Aeolians.
In recent years, the choirs have traveled abroad to Paris, London, Armenia, Costa Rica, Scandinavia, Estonia, China, Greece and Bulgaria. In spring 2012 the Madrigal Singers’ performance of Estonian choral works for the Estonian Ambassador to the United States was hailed as “extraordinary.” Both groups later toured Finland, Sweden and Estonia to great acclaim and were featured on Estonian National Television. An Estonian newspaper stated, “the American high school choir bestowed the listener an unforgettable experience." The 2015 China Tour group included about 100 singers and 30 parents and teachers, sharing our music and engaging in cultural exchange with the people of Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou and Shanghai, China. During the 2018 tour of Greece and Bulgaria, the choirs were praised their "exquisite music making" and "incredible demonstration of solidarity".