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Bound by Song Beyond the Pioneer Valley

The Madrigal Choir, known for its layered voices booming through the Large Auditorium during school meetings, has swung open the Memorial Building doors to perform on new stages.

This year, the elite group of student singers led by Music Director Daniel Roihl will explore the new venues of television broadcasting and choir festivals together.

The Madrigal Choir traveled to Springfield on February 14 to record for the Together in Song festival that will air on WGBY, a regional PBS station.

“The Together in Song festival invites choirs from around Western Massachusetts including school choirs, church choirs, and community choirs to celebrate the chorus work in the region,” Mr. Roihl explained.

In addition to the celebration, Together in Song provides new opportunities for committed Madrigal singers.

Annie Blau ’13, a member of the Choir, said, “I think it’s great that we can do something we love and get recognition for it outside of Deerfield.”

Willa Gustavson ’12 echoed the importance of recognizing the arts: “It makes the arts, and chorus in particular, a lot more out in the open, and I am more excited to sing in chorus if others are going to enjoy it.”

“The point of singing is interacting with the audience. We have worked on group dynamics and emotions to better
communicate the messages of the two songs we will be recording for WGBY, ” Gustavson said.

“‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’ is a beautiful Latin song and ‘Ride the Chariot’ is a southern soul song,” Blau explained. These two songs comprise the four-minute performance that may qualify Deerfield Academy for a competitive next level in the Together in Song festival.

Mr. Roihl described the second festival in which the Madrigal choir will be performing this year: “Great East Festivals specialize in offering an opportunity for choirs to become adjudicated.” The choir will perform for thirty
minutes and receive comments, critiques and evaluation from Michele Holt, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association.

Mr. Roihl said with a smile, “[These festivals] are definitely an added layer to not only to my plate but to the singers’. It hasn’t been done in recent memory, and at Deerfield, time is the most precious commodity. It is nice to have an opportunity like this for our most talented musicians to invest this time in music. I consider it time well spent.”

“Mr. Roihl is trying to transform the arts program to make it more accessible and to have more opportunities to
showcase our talents,” Blau said. Mr. Roihl’s vision for Deerfield Academy singers involves showcasing talents in
more off-campus performances and showcases.

“It is my hope that in a few years we may have the opportunity to go even further: an extended tour somewhere out
of state, perhaps even a summer tour, or an international tour,” Mr. Roihl said.

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