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The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

Choir and Band concerts return to BHS

Peter Kissel
BHS’s Madrigals preforms Christmas songs at the tree lighting in Far Hills


This winter season, Choir and Band concerts returned to Bernards High School. On Thursday, December 8th at 7 pm the Choir had their first concert of the year. This included madrigals, concert choirs, and chorus. On December 13th, also at 7 pm, jazz, concert band, and orchestra concert took place. These are the first concerts of 2022, and it is also the first concerts without restrictions of COVID-19.

COVID has had an effect on the chorus and band programs as COVID-19 restrictions have had to stop everyone from performing in front of live audiences. Once live performances returned, students had to wear masks, and social distance while performing. The band had no in-person concerts during the 2020-2021 school year and their concerts consisted of the members playing their instruments virtually in their rooms. Because of this, the band numbers started to dwindle during the months of COVID.

COVID greatly impacted the numbers of people participating in the bands and chorus, and this is one of the greatest factors behind the smaller numbers in the arts programs. The band had to go outside every week and would perform a little tune in the parking lot while being socially distanced. They also had to wear masks and use bell covers for their instruments, which ended after the winter concert in 2021. Last year, the band had red masks during the winter concert.

Mary Tropp ‘24 discussed her excitement when she was in preparation for the concert, “Yes I’m nervous for this concert in particular, not necessarily because of Covid but because of how small the band has become due to Covid.” This year is especially exciting since it is the first year without masks and bell covers.

“I’m very excited about the upcoming concert. I think it’s going to be really good and a lot of fun. We’ve been practicing a ton so hopefully, it will pay off,” Tropp continued.

She has been playing the saxophone for five years and has been part of the jazz and concert band since Freshman year. As someone who is an experienced musician, she does tend to get nervous, but she describes it as a “good nervous because it makes her and others perform better.”

This is also the first concert with the new teacher of the band, Mr. Taesler. Tropp said, “Mr. Taesler has been amazing and we’ve learned a large amount of music in a very short time, and I feel as though we are ready on a whole.”

For chorus classes, COVID affected them by having to socially distance themselves on the risers, wearing masks, and halting performances for over a year. Singing through masks was difficult for people to properly learn how to blend their voices together and learn the correct ways to sing songs together in order to truly feel like a choir.
Sarah Maqueda ‘23, who performs with the madrigals, discussed the choir’s events,

“This year we are lucky enough to have more performances such as the Christmas Tree lighting, performing at the middle school, and having the Nashville Trip.” She has been with the chorus class and working with Mr. Lapine since Freshman year during Covid and had difficulty during COVID with wearing masks and singing.

Maqueda also explained that “the masks made it difficult to learn how to blend our voices together so that we could sing in unison. But this year has had so many new opportunities for people to learn new songs and grow closer together.”

She continued, “Last year we actually learned a lot fewer songs in comparison to this year. We learned around 17 songs over the summer for our winter performances and we probably learned 5-7 last year.” Maqueda and many others were very excited about the concert and upcoming events.

This is Mr. Lapine’s eleventh year as the Vocal Music Teacher at BHS and he was also ecstatic about the return of the concert,

“It’s wonderful! Having all of the singers on stage, unmasked, standing side by side is a special sight to see!”

This year there are 80 singers, with 24 students in Madrigals, 65 in concert choir, and an additional 14 in chorus. This is one of the lowest numbers in the history of the chorus at BHS.

This year Bernards High School’s Art Department has had an eventful year, especially the music department. And on a final note, Mr. Lapine said, “The music program is about community. It’s about teamwork. It’s about artistry. The students who are part of the music program all know that there’s something intangible about being part of a music ensemble — something that you just can’t explain. I highly recommend any student who may be curious about singing or playing an instrument to reach out to Mr. Taesler or me.”

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