A World of Music: A First Look Into the Upcoming World Music Concert

Students rehearse primarily in class under the instruction of Mormann.
Examples of the International Phonetic Alphabet hanging around the chorus room.

This February, the Chorus department will be doing its first World Music Concert. The songs are not that of your typical chorus concert. Most are in languages other than English.

Meredith Mormann, the chorus teacher described the concert saying, “We’ve got stuff from India, stuff from Iceland, Nicaragua, China, lots of places. I decided to do it for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons being that there is a lot of music that comes from around the world that in our very American little bubble we don’t get to experience a lot.”

She decided to change the theme of the concert to challenge her students. “When you are singing music from all over the world, you have to do a lot of different things with your voice, it’s not the same type of singing.”

Mormann says that as students rehearse the pitches and rhythms, the language aspect becomes easier. But some songs need more practice. She explained that the Icelandic piece is particularly difficult. “I didn’t even know Icelandic was its own language until this year,” she confessed.

Vocal students use an alphabet of sounds called the international phonetic alphabet that helps them when singing in different languages. IPA is the main tool students use to learn how to sing songs like the Icelandic piece. Mormann explained how students can write out any word in IPA and understand exactly how it is pronounced.
“It’s really different, especially because this is my first year in the chorus. I’m only used to singing pop songs and rap or something so I didn’t expect to sing songs from a different culture but I like it. It’s a change,” said Isaac Jubran ‘22 and a baritone in the men’s choir.

The concert will be filled with cultural music along with thematic performances connecting to the music’s origin. One going to the concert can expect stories made by sounds. The opening piece, a Brazilian song, Tres Cantos Nativos, will start with a rainstorm of sounds made by body percussion. One Indian piece will even have Bollywood dancers and a sitar.

About 120  Bolles middle and high school students have been working on these pieces since the second week of school. This concert will not be one to miss.

On the topic of song choice, Mormann explained, “Selfishly, some are my personal favorites. But I did choose them coming from an educator’s standpoint… I chose pieces that I thought would stretch their idea of what choral music is.”

Chorus Calander

   Dec. 5: Upper School
Winter Concert

   Feb. 27: Upper and Middle
School World Music Con-

   April 21: Upper School
Chorus Concert