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Jubilee Singer’s spring concert depicted their rich talent and community

In only one hour, a contained community of support, equality, and unbounded happiness was formed, as the Jubilee Singers performed various songs for an eager audience. Directed by music teacher Sheldon Reid, Jubilee performed their spring concert, June 1 in the Lasker Auditorium.

As Jubilee’s final performance of the season, the arrangements displayed their expansive repertoire built throughout the year, which drew from the African Diaspora and featured two original pieces. 

Starting the concert on an uplifting note, the ensemble performed the song “Be Like Him,” which, according to Reid, was made popular by gospel artist Kirk Franklin. As the first soloist of the night, junior Jonathan Santos led the piece, juggling lyrics and soulful riffs that spurred murmurs in the audience. The song was largely acapella, aside from Reid accompanying the Singers with the rhythmic beating of a drum box. 

Additionally, providing further instrumentation, the audience was told to clap along with the students on stage near the end of the song. This early connection between the spectators and performers helped forge a sense of unity throughout the show. By interacting with the music, one felt like they were not only watching the performance but feeling it, allowing the spirited lyrics to speak straight to the soul.

While the concert served as a celebration of the ensemble’s work from throughout the year, a sense of melancholy lingered in the air as seniors and their friends came to terms with their departure. 

“I feel so sad wrapping up the season because I’ve been doing this for three years now,” said senior Elena Matson. “It’s just been part of my life for a long time and it’s really sad. I can’t even imagine not going to Jubilee every week.”

The concert also featured the song “Jubilee,” which put this emotional impact into words. According to Reid, “Jubilee”  is an original piece the ensemble has sung for many years. Soloed by junior Nell Ranalli, the song seemed to lay out Jubilee’s core principles, and the lessons each student has learned throughout their time in the group. With messages of equality, diversity, and community, the piece encompassed the group’s values and cemented that their music goes beyond notes and vocals. “There’s a spirit in the songs we sing,” Ranalli sang, as harmonious waves of student voices overlapped hers, and the band’s lively melody flowed beneath.

The greatest highlight of the show came with the group’s rendition of the poem, “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou. With senior Maya Lucas as the soloist, the song flourished. Her captivating vocals paired with Angelou’s words of empowerment created a performance that one couldn’t turn away from. The sparse instrumentation of the piece only added to the power of the lyrics, and the ensemble’s deep harmonies highlighted Lucas’ voice. 

Jubilee’s final concert of the year displayed their immense talent, but also the group’s natural and deeply important sense of community. “It sounds lame to say, but we’re like a family,” said Ranalli. “I love that class and I love everyone in that class, and I love going and being able to sing with people. It’s just so much fun and everyone’s pretty tight knit so it’s just nice.”

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