Music Makes the Soul Grow

Winter Choir Concert

At around 6:30 pm on December 6th, 2022, Edison High’s newly-furnished auditorium was filled with parents, friends, and staff. The annual winter choral concert this year was titled “Music makes the Soul Grow,” directed by Mr. Josh Lisner, featuring collaborative pianist and organist Daniel Romero. 

The title of this year’s program was “Music Makes the Soul Grow,” which is also the mantra of the choir program. 

Being the first performance in the new auditorium, there was much anticipation, and the choir delivered. The five choirs — concert, acapella, chamber, treble, and tenor/bass choir — exceeded expectations. In total, seventeen pieces, in several languages from diverse regions of the world, were performed. 

“I think the concert went very well, I think the new auditorium was great for us besides having to get used to all the lights in our face. It felt really cool to perform in a fancy auditorium,” said Douglas Sabosik ‘23, soloist of the concert and tenor/bass choir. 

“It was a thrilling experience. It was also chaotic, Especially since there are a lot more singers this year then there were last year. But, singing on stage was really fun,” said choir member Violet Bak ‘25.

The concert choir first performed. A concert choir piece called “Tuba” arr. Michael Barret and traditional Xitsonga featured soloist Juan Paolo Andre Gustin ‘25. Gustin says, “This was the first concert where I felt I was truly able to sing my heart out, I finally learned what it meant to feel what you are singing. For the solo, it was a bit intimidating, but the song was exciting so I just loosened up and told myself to have fun and blend with the other 2 soloists.” 

After that, the A Capella Choir performed featuring students from the School Band and Orchestra in “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen,” from Ein deutsches Requiem, by Johanne Brahms. 

Additionally, for the first time, a student has taught and conducted the choir. Robyn Nemeth ‘23 said, “I’ve given presentations in class and helped teach my friends, but teaching a room of 50 unerclassmen is a whole new level of nerve wracking. I have to be viewed as a teacher, and my responsibility became really communicating the music with them. Sometimes it was really hard to push through, and ultimately ultimately it paid off when I got to conduct the final performance at the concert.” 

How can I grow as a person? How can I grow as a musician? And how can we collectively grow as a choir?

— Mr. Josh Lisner

Then, the chamber choir performed.  

“I’m really happy I ushered because the concert was so good. I’ve heard the chamber choir rehearse through closed doors and they’re really good but when I heard it live at the concert I thought they sounded so professional” says an usherer and member of Tri-M Music Honor Society, Sneha Rajagopalan ‘23. 

Finally, the performance ended with the Concert Choir singing “We Remember Them” by Susan Labarr and “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood, arr. Doreen Rao. “We Remember Them” was a piece dedicated to Justin Koleser ‘22, former Tenor Bass Choir. 

The piece “We Remember Them” by Susan LaBarr was in memory of the beloved student.  “Justin was close to many of the students and alumni in the program. For that reason and more, I wanted to honor his memory. Within the work, there are long flowing lines of text reading: ‘As long as we live, we remember them’,” said Lisner. 

“Each summer before the school year, I meet with the student board and discuss the goals of the choir program for the year,” Lisner said. “We are striving to find answers to these questions: “How can I grow as a person? How can I grow as a musician? And how can we collectively grow as a choir? Much of the repertoire that was programmed for the concert was focused on helping grow musicianship while also containing thematic material that helps us reflect on the human experience and how we, as individuals and as an entity, can grow.”