Choir Joins JP for First-Ever Collab


Ms. Nese Kantar

Edison High and J.P Stevens performing at the Choral Festival

Zeynep Kacan, Staff Writer

For the first time in the history of the township, the Edison High School Choir collaborated with their sister school, John P. Stevens High School, in creating the First Annual Edison Choral Festival. This coming-together of the two supposed rival groups captured the attention of many Edison residents, including Mayor Sam Joshi.

The sign outside of the event (Ms. Nese Kantar)

The idea for the collaborative concert was the work of Edison High’s Choir Director, Mr. Josh Lisner, who was inspired by a similar event from his years as a student at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School. End-of-the-year concerts included alumni, who returned to perform with current students.
“Mr. Lee and I were talking, and I wanted to morph that idea of what my high school did into a collaboration with J.P. Stevens,” said Lisner. “We have so much talent [in Edison] that it makes so much sense for us to combine to do a really exciting end-of-the-year concert while providing an opportunity for alumni to come back to participate.”

The interior of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield where the choir performed. (Ms. Nese Kantar)

The performance took place at the beautiful Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield. With the help of the staff at the church, students felt comfortable and at home. The first half of the concert was conducted by J.P. Stevens Choir Director, Mr. Matthew Lee, and included various professional singers and the concert choirs (all choir students). The concert began with a cheerful song, “Tuba,” which included a choreography that completed the song regardless of the frustration many choir students had with the moves.
The mood then took a more emotional turn with the following two pieces: “I Believe” and “Total Praise.” Both songs carried a lot of meaning for the singers and performers as the songs focused on God or other loved ones who could be relied on during rough times. “I Believe” had two soloists that gave everyone chills with their beautiful voices. “Total Praise” was a whole rendition, completed by the necessarily hearty student choir.
The second half of the concert was conducted by Lisner and consisted of performances by the Acapella choirs. This consisted of the French composer Gabriel Fauré’s “Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48”. The requiem ⎯ a Catholic mass for the deceased⎯ performance took about 35 minutes with no breaks, leaving the students tired yet excited. The requiem went along with the organ, a professional orchestra, and soloists. Out of all the other additions, the organ grabbed the most attention from the audience and choir members with its dark and rich sound.
“I thought it was very exciting that I got to have a solo for the last concert and the last time wearing the concert attire which made it special to me,” said Gabriela Engholm ‘23.
After the concert, the performers had the opportunity to bond with each other and enjoy snacks after the long performance. The first annual Choral Festival left the audience and choir members with both satisfaction and eager anticipation for next year’s festival.