July 16th's Concert with Cape Harmony and Northern Lights - A Celebration of Plymouth North Vocal Music's (Recent) Past, Present & Future
The July 16th concert with Northern Lights and Cape Harmony is, truly, a celebration of the past, present, and future of Plymouth North Vocal Music.
A couple of weeks ago, at Northern Lights' Fundraiser Concert, I had the absolute joy of seeing Cape Harmony perform as an opening act. Cape Harmony is a professional all-female a cappella group made up of ten college-aged women from around the country who spend the summer living together in a house, and sharing vocal music for The Cape and South Shore almost every day for the entire season. Cape Harmony is a fantastic vocal group with a smooth, joyous sound that is doing the work that we need right now -- bringing happiness through great music. As I watched their set, I was beaming the entire time with a new sense of pride that I hadn't experienced before.
In March, I tweeted at the very end of the Les Mis sitzprobe. It looked something like this:
While much of this was due to a pretty spectacular night of music from the Les Mis orchestra and cast, I had just found at that two Plymouth North Vocal Music/A Cappella alums, Merin English and Julia McBride, were offered spots in Cape Harmony. They were going to spend the summer singing a cappella professionally, and living out my college dreams (but that's another blog post).
So with all of that backstory, let me tell you a bit about why this concert is a celebration of Plymouth North Vocal Music's past, present, and future...
Now, right in between years six and seven of my time at Plymouth North High School, it's easy to look at what we have happening in our vocal music program and feel like it just sort of.. happened. This could be especially true if you are a student who sings in a choral or a cappella ensemble, or a student who just enjoys the singing that happens throughout the school at events, concerts, class day, etc. Thinking back to when chorus was made up of 20 out of 1300 people in the school, I can tell you with absolute certainty -- This did not sort of just happen. This is due to the immense amount of time, effort, perseverance and passion from the incredible alumni that have spent too many hours in 142A. Julia and Merin are two prime examples of that. Merin graduated in 2014, and I still see bits of her personality in our program that have been passed down from year to year by the upperclassmen who make an impact on people new to our ensembles. While more current students may remember Julia, Class of 2016, it is safe to say that she was a key role in setting the tone for our program. Her undying, often unhealthily obsessive passion for vocal music permeated through every person she made music with in her time here, and is a walking example of the positive growth a person can have when they choose to let an experience change them.
Plain and simple -- among many songs that we'll be performing, this will be the last time you'll hear Thalles rip apart Unchain My Heart, Taylor tear into your soul with Can't Be Love, Chris, Kyle and Amber rock The Chain, and Nat riff your face off with Love On The Brain, which, if you didn't go to the Fundraiser Concert, you haven't even heard yet! This year's group has made some great music, and this is going to be the last chance to hear them make it together.
I find myself having occasional conversations with colleagues who are curious as to who I think is going to 'make it big,' or suggesting that someone auditions for American Idol, and so on. I love these conversations, because they force me to count how many of our PNHS Vocal Music alumni are studying music, making music, and leading music making with others. Success is a very, very relative term in the arts. Students who sing at Plymouth North are leaving Plymouth with the skills to not only sing with other people, but to lead their peers in music. They are taking whatever craziness they've learned here and are able to spread that to others from around the country. I'll take that over The Voice any day. This concert will feature two Plymouth North High School Vocal Music alumni who are being paid money to sing for people. They are actually doing a cappella professionally. Read that again if you have to, and then consider that Plymouth has actually had at least two other alumni that I know about who have sung or currently sing a cappella professionally (including incoming PPS Social Studies Coordinator Rob Powers, who sang with the Hyannis Sound years ago)
This is not to say 'Hey everyone! Come to this concert and go nuts for these two anomalies who are still singing after high school!' This concert will feature a small, local slice of the musical opportunities that our students are set up for when they graduate Plymouth North. If you are a current or future musician in Plymouth High Schools, this concert is a celebration of the opportunities that await you on the other side, and proof that graduating is an opening of new doors, not just closing of old ones.
I truly hope that you will be able to make it to this concert on July 16th. Whether you are in our music program, will someday be in our music program, have ever been in our music program, generally enjoy the sounds our music program makes, or the people that make sound in our music program, it will be an evening to celebrate Plymouth music.
Northern Lights & Cape Harmony, Sunday July 16, 7pm, Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Tickets are $12 and can be ordered right now at www.pnhs-sings.com
Choral Director at Plymouth North High School. A Cappella director, arranger, clinician