Camerata and Advanced Chamber Orchestra band together



The high school’s singers and musicians produced a memorable joint concert on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The audience watched with anticipation as Camerata took the stage in their classic black suits and purple scarves. A student played a couple notes on the piano as the singers found their spots on the stage. The shuffling of programs and the chatter of voices quieted. An unmistakable air of excitement filled the room and the concert began.

The joint Camerata and Advanced Chamber Orchestra (ACO) concert on Nov. 9, 2022 was a wonderful display of what musicians and singers can produce when they work together. The concert showcased multiple different musical performances from a wide range of genres, ACO conductor Nina Bishop said.

The orchestra played two pieces from “The Bartered Bride” by Bedřich Smetana in the concert, the first being “Polka.” This song was quick and lively. I was surprised by how well the musicians were able to follow along with Bishop’s quick hand movements while also playing their instruments and looking at their sheet music.

The second piece, “Dance of the Comedians,” was just as fast and difficult. The song had joyful notes and made me feel as though I was at a ball in the 1800s. Every section of the orchestra played a complicated part, and it all wove together to create an entertaining and spirited melody.

While the final product was an amazing display of talent and strength, it took a while to get there. Bishop said she was initially worried about the difficulty of the pieces and if ACO could handle something that complicated.

“At the beginning of the year, when we started rehearsing, there were a few moments where I was like, ‘What have we gotten ourselves into?’” Bishop said.

But the fact that the piece was so difficult made it much more impressive that ACO executed it so well, and I was blown away at their precision and skill level.

Camerata’s performance of “Kyrie,” led by director of choirs Michael Driscoll, was incredible as well. The piece was from the opera “Petite Messe Solennelle” by Gioachino Rossini. The song featured two excellent pianists, freshmen Eliot Arolovitch and William Xuan. While the song mainly focused on the vocals, its opening and closing notes were from the piano. The dual pianists were the highlight of the piece, combining and overlapping with the singers to create a beautiful mix of melodies.

My favorite piece from Camerata was the spiritual arrangement “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” by Moses Hogan. The song began with very distinct, sharp notes, but as it continued it transitioned into a call and response between the sections with the voices fluctuating in volume. This year’s tenor and bass section was very strong, Driscoll said, and he wanted to do a song that highlighted their vocal abilities.
“My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” did just that. The song featured lower tones and let the audience listen to each respective section. I appreciated this choice because it made the concert feel more personal; I felt as though I could practically hear the individual voice of each singer.

The best part of the whole night was definitely when ACO and Camerata performed “Somebody To Love” by Queen together. The piece featured five talented soloists and combined the vocals of Camerata with the instrumentals of ACO. The audience was engaged, tapping their feet along to the overlapping sounds.

The joint Camerata and AOC concert was an amazing celebration of music, bringing together two different musical communities to produce a masterful collaboration.