During the weekend of November 16-18, 2017, eight members of the Pacific Grove High School Choir headed to San Mateo for the California Coastal Regional Honor Choir. The annual Honor Choir holds auditions in cities as far north as Eureka and as far south as San Luis Obispo. The ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) selects about 300 students from across the California coast to participate in one of three choirs: Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, and Mixed Choir. The Breakers selected for the Honor Choir were Adrian Clark (Sophomore) in Men’s Choir, Joey Kaatz and Isabella Rowntree (Sophomores) in Women’s Choir, and Mei Bailey (Senior), Isaiah Boulware (Junior), Matthew Lo (Junior), Ashley Lyon (Senior), and Emma Millette (Sophomore) in Mixed Choir. The singers rehearse about sixteen hours over the course of three days, culminating in a spectacular concert on Saturday.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful experience,” Mei Bailey, who has sung in the Regional Honor Choirs for the past two years, says of her experience. “Singing with such a talented group of people every day made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”
Dr. Christopher Peterson directed the Men’s Choir, who performed classic pieces such as Camille Saint-Saens’s “Ave Maria” as well as modern pieces like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, arranged by Adam Scott, and the traditional South African song “Tshotsholoza” arranged by Jeffrey Ames, which included impressive choralography. The Mixed Choir, under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Talberg, performed songs including Felix Mendelssohn’s “Richte Mich Gott,” Josh Rist’s powerful “Invictus,” the thought-provoking “The Peace of Wild Things” by Jake Runestad, and David Dickau’s touching “i carry your heart with me.” Finally, the Women’s Choir, directed by Ms. Cheryl M. Anderson, performed an array of beautiful choral music written in various languages. Their concert repertoire included “Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär” by Robert Schumann, Francesca Caccini’s “Aure volanti,” and Daniel Tosh’s “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.”
Performing at an extremely high level, all three Honor Choirs left impacts on the audience who watched the concert, students who participated in the choir, and the directors, managers, and accompanists who worked to bring the event to fruition. From the impressive music to the comradery of the students and the guidance of the directors, the 2017 Regional Honor Choir was a truly unforgettable experience and a beautiful testament to music’s power to bring all kinds of people together to create something astonishing.