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CHS Madrigal Choir A group shot of the Madrigals Choir courtesy of TGS photography.

By Corrina Taylor, BubbleLife Intern

The somber tones of Blake R. Henson’s “O Vos Omnes” echo from the choir hall. The source of the harmonizing is none other than Coppell High School’s Madrigal Choir as they busily prepare for their upcoming festival.

On Friday, March 1, the choir will set off for its annual festival in San Antonio, accompanied by directors Joshua Brown and Will McLean. For the competition this year, the choir will perform three different selections chosen by the directors.

“We listened to the group through the fall for their strengths and weaknesses, and then we looked through a bunch of literature,” Brown said. “We look for variety, so they’re not all composed at the same time and sound the same. We want to have pieces that challenge [the choir].”

The chosen songs are: “Cantate Domino” by Sweelinck, a song professing the Lord’s glory in Latin; “Dashing Away With the Smoothing Iron” by John Rutter, a humorous tale expressing a man’s love for a laundress and “O Vos Omnes,” another Latin song expressing sorrow.

“They are definitely unique pieces,” CHS senior Maggie Boreham said. “I do not think they will blend in with the other pieces people will be doing at festival. It might help set us apart.”

After choosing the songs, the choir began practicing immediately after the winter break. Though the songs chosen were some of the more challenging pieces, the choir was up to the task and put their best foot forward.

When directors Brown and McLean were absent due to an all-state competition, senior captains Zeb White and Michelle Pitcher were there to direct the choir and continue with practice as scheduled.

In order to further prepare the choir, the directors had Dr. Lloyd Hawthorne, a retired musical director at Hardin-Simmons, pay a visit to the choir and critique them. After the clinical, the choir worked harder, got better and is now more motivated than ever.

Before any of this became a reality, the choir had to raise money for the festival through their annual feast. The feast occurs in the fall and consists of a dinner and a performance by the choir.

"This year, our annual feast was a big success,” White said. “We had a really high attendance and everything went well.”

The choir has one last live performance at Pinkerton Elementary School on Friday before they venture to the festival. The top choirs from the top schools will be there, and the competition should be fierce.

Last year’s Madrigal choir received the Performance of Distinction recognition. This year, both the choir and the directors have high hopes for a possible placement.

“I feel like this group of madrigals is the most talented group of high school students I have ever worked with,” Brown said. “They have a high level of work ethic and are a very exceptional group in a lot of ways.”