A Musical Spring

Leo Yang ’22

 For me, spring at Berkshire isn’t just about the breeze, sunshine, and blossoms. It’s about music. During spring break I began to count how many outfits I needed for the plethora of events before graduation, and it became hard to overlook the variety of musical concerts that largely composed the spring experience. As an ardent performer, there’s hardly a better way to spend my last season under the mountain.

 As the youngest of the bunch, the Songwriting & Digital Music Showcase always kicks off the season, this year falling on Friday, April 8 at 7:30 pm in Allen Theater. This concert became a tradition three years ago as Berkshire’s music directors, Dr. Clive Davis and Dr. Cheng-Chia Wu, sought to provide an opportunity for students to present their original works. Both composition majors, Wu and Davis understand the value of original pieces. “Throughout our years at Berkshire School, we realize that many students have the talent to write and produce music. All they need is a platform to share and showcase them,” said Davis as he opened the concert. This year, ten pieces were presented in the Showcase, including five songs and five digital music compositions. The Showcase has never been the biggest, most-anticipated music event; nevertheless, it creates a tightly-knit community of musicians and creators who acknowledge the original works and inspire each other.

 After that, Vocal Cabaret falls on on Friday, April 22. As one of the most attended concerts of the year, Cabaret invites Berkshire’s best singers to perform a selection of pieces from “The Great American Songbook,” a collection of show tunes mostly from musical theater, with the addition of those from movies, TV shows, etc. At this year’s Cabaret, eight singers performed eleven songs from shows including Assassins, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hamilton. In addition to singing two songs, Zeynep Lal Kara ’23 accompanied every other act on the piano, while Olivia Mirabito ’22 hosted the concert and introduced each act. 

 The concert ended with The World Will Remember Us from Bonnie & Clyde, performed by seniors Topher Sharp ’22 and Phoebe Mulder ’22. Both Sharp and Mulder started performing in Cabaret in their freshman year, and they wanted to conclude their last vocal concert at Berkshire by performing this duet together. The Vocal Cabaret was critically acclaimed by both students and faculties, and it presented the highest level of musicianship among Berkshire students.

 The Spring Concert will take place on Friday, April 29, in Allen Theater. Compared to other spring-exclusive events, the Spring Concert comes in with more regularity, featuring works from Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensemble, Chorus, and Digital Music classes. Additionally, Berkshire’s male and female A Cappella groups, Greensleeves and Ursa Minor, will perform their pieces.

 The show never stops. A week later, on Friday, May 6 is Capriccio. Capriccio is Berkshire’s classical music concert, featuring pieces from the Chamber Music Ensemble as well as recitals and solos from other instrumentalists. Furthermore, students in Advanced Music Theory and other composition classes will have a chance to have their original pieces performed at Capriccio. 

 This year, the Chamber Music Ensemble will perform two pieces: one from Leo Yang ’22 and one from Justine Rabley ’23. It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for composers that encourages more people to study music at a deeper level and compose their own pieces using the knowledge from music theory. 

 Last but not least, the much-anticipated Outdoor Concert will take place on the evening of Saturday, May 21. Since Logan Renneker ’20 conceived and initiated this concert four years ago, it has become one of the highest-energy, most participated student activities of the year. In this concert, students can sign up to perform either by themselves or with a band, and there is an open-mic at the end of the concert. This year, the Outdoor Concert will happen at the same time as Spring Carnival on the football field, creating a fun and energetic atmosphere for the last weekend of this school year. 

 Looking back at my four years at Berkshire, there’s hardly a concert that I haven’t watched or been a part of, and there hasn’t been one that didn’t impress me with Berkshire students’ talents and musicianship. For musicians and performers, the concerts are their champion game, and they’ve been working diligently to bring the best performances to the community. Moreover, concerts have always been a place where students can express their appreciation and support for their peers and instructors. 

 These concerts are social events that bond the community warmer and tighter. As the clock ticks to the end of the year, I encourage everyone to go to these amazing events to truly experience the music and inclusive atmosphere here at Berkshire.

This year’s cabaret performers