Concert Choir Rocks Mercer Hall

Bob Dylan’s lyrics of “The Times They Are A-Changin’” filled Mercer Hall as Pali’s Concert Choir opened their show at the Folk and Friends Theme Concert on Feb. 21. Students’ voices harmonized to the tune, setting the stage for the well-known music played throughout the concert.

Freshman Adelaide Costain paid homage to post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh by singing and strumming to Don McLean’s “Vincent.” 

“She did such an amazing job,” freshman Viola Browne said. “I really liked how she played her own instrument. … It seemed very personal, and she has a beautiful voice.” 

The ensemble displayed their many talents during sophomores Willa Browne’s and Annika Johansson’s duet to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The lyrics were accompanied by Max von der Ohe on trumpet and a group of designated whistlers. Spectators chuckled toward the end of the song as the singers bantered over a Pacific Palisades-inspired skit about the Bluffs and the Pacific Coast Highway. 

Pali’s resident acapella group, Acapali, also made an appearance singing “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae.

The entire choir ended the night by performing “Love the One You’re With” by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Junior Adena Hefner played stand-up bass alongside seniors Nicholas Jeffers and Valentin Martinez on the piano and guitar, respectively. As the music came to an end, the audience rose for a standing ovation dedicated to the band, the singers and the choir teacher, Allison Cheng. 

Although this is her first year teaching at Pali, Cheng is highly involved in the music department. Besides leading Concert Choir, she also teaches students to play the guitar and assists with the Fall and Spring Musicals. 

Senior choir member Ginger Simpson gave insight into Concert Choir’s inner workings. 

“We began working the minute we got back from winter break,” Simpson said. “It was definitely a scramble because we wanted the songs to be good, but they were pretty complicated.” 

Despite the chaos of dropping songs, difficult memorization and a short timeline, Simpson said that there was still time to make great memories while “working with friends on a joint passion.” 

Simpson said her love for music was a driving force in her enjoyment during both the performance and its preparation. 

She explained that the concerts are gratifying because “it’s obvious that we all have such a deep passion for singing, and being able to share that with your friends and classmates is really encouraging.”  

Simpson said she believes that although the choir program is “not always super easy, … the work definitely pays off.”

“My time spent at the choir show was incredible,” Browne said. “I enjoyed seeing the products of their hard work, and all of the creativity they put into the fantastic performances.”