“The Heart of the Chorus” – By Pauly B.

When musical notes are strung together to form harmony and that harmony is presented by a group of youthful voices who passionately stir up from the depths of their diaphragms –chorus…, magic happens. The right element of precise pitch, crescendo, vibrato as guided by an astute and confident choral director can be mesmerizing.

Recently, and by chance, I was asked to sit in and play drums for Methuen High School’s “Coffee House Chorus” by Choral Director – Cheryl Mancini. On short notice, Ms. Mancini asked me to assist with the outfit, as her initial drummer of choice was unable to commit to the presentation. I hesitantly accepted the offer, but as I always like participate in cases where: “The show must go on,” I said yes for the good of the community, (and for a few good bucks in my pocket too). Four days after the request, I flew off to Japan to visit family. While there, I would have to find time to complete my first week of Psychology for my own online schooling, and in the back of my mind, I began to wonder if I’d be able to fully commit to the chorus concert that waited for me back home upon my return. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

When I returned home, it was crunch time. I listened intently to the repertoire of tunes that I would help sponsor from my drum kit and met the 3 required rehearsals. Yes, it was crunch time indeed. Due to other commitments, many members of the chorus were unable to meet the practice sessions and so, unbeknownst to Ms. Mancini, I became a bit skittish as to how this could be successfully pulled off. But there was an air of confidence with Cheryl. She assured me that she and piano maestro Ben Woodard had been working with the rest of the chorus to meet the schedule and the demand and as long as I merged along with the supporting musicians, we’d be fine.

This chick was in control.

In no time, performance day was here. The school cafeteria filled quickly for the 3pm matinee. The performers dressed uniformly in black tops and jeans and as the show began, I honestly welled up and became tingly; arduously fighting off the overwhelming need to shed tears. The wondrously joyous sound of the human voice eloquently producing 3 and 4 part harmony as shared with bass, tenor, alto and soprano sections of a chorus is monumentally magnificent. Who needs instruments? The hair on my arms stood high at attention in response and I was for a brief moment taken back to my own high school memories of choral arts.

These kids were good. They were so good. They listened to Ms. Mancini. They rehearsed with Ms. Mancini. They gave it their all with Ms. Mancini. And it became quite obvious that they loved and fully respected Ms. Mancini. There were outstanding solos by so many of the students, whose talent pool was richly filled with style, soul, power and togetherness. Methuen High School should be proud of this vocal team. By shows end, the skittishness had long since washed away and the truth of pure harmonic splendor rose high, and mighty. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Hats off to you, Ms. Mancini. Hats off to you, Ben Woodard, Zach, and Marcus

And most of all to you The Methuen High School Choir!