BSM hosts choir conference

Mike Geer

Students may have been puzzled by the vibrant robes and radiant colors of the strangers walking through the hall on October 27. But once the voices were heard from the chapel, students clearly understood: it was the annual North Suburban Conference choir festival.

Ten choirs from around the metro gathered in the Hamburge Theater and the chapel to perform and critique each other on their various singing styles. While it may seem odd to have so many choirs rambling around the school, this is not the first time it has happened. Seniors and juniors may remember the same thing happening two years ago. “[The conference] just loves our kids, and our facility,” said Ms. Stockhaus, one of the choir directors. “The festival is supposed to rotate, but our central location makes it easy for all schools to get here easily.”

Not only did the BSM choir members get to miss a half day, they got to listen to the melodic tunes of a variety of different genres, such as traditional choir, African tribal songs, and modern pop-choir sounds. “It was just a great chance to step out of our normal music experience” said junior Carrie Miller, one of the many participants in the Benilde-St. Margaret’s vocal orchestra.

Along with the choirs judging each other, each group was critiqued by a panel of professional clinicians from colleges around the metro. After doing their performance in the theater, each group would go down to the choir room and listen to the comments given by each conductor. “It was really helpful to get feedback from a guy who listens to choirs at a college level” said junior Matt Best.

This critiquing is one of the key reasons why these festivals have been so successful. “It’s about learning,” said Ms. Stockhaus. “Each group came in on the same level and ready to learn. There was no competitive edge, just a desire to do your best in front of the clinicians.”

“Even though we weren’t competing against each other, it was still a lot of pressure performing for the judges,” said junior Matt Best.

While an element of competition surrounded the festival, it was all in fun, and there was no real winner or loser. A good time was had by participants and spectators alike, and there will no doubt be anticipation for next year’s choir festival. “The festival is all about music, learning, and community,” said Ms. Stockhaus, “everybody enjoys that.”

The choir members were not the only ones who got the benefit of hearing the assorted music. Countless students stood outside the chapel during passing time to catch a glimpse of these mysterious robed strangers. Some students skipped out on lunch just to stop by the theater to sneak a peak during the performances. “I’d sacrifice a few chicken balls to listen to good music,” said sophomore Amanda Gales, who watched some of the performances.