Mercyaires perform with St. Mary’s Jazz Band

The Mercyaires Honor Choir meets regularly outside of its seventh hour class to perform for the community. Photo courtesy of Kendall Reid

While many students were dancing the night away at the University of Detroit Jesuit’s icebreaker Saturday night, the Mercyaires danced to a different beat. In conjunction with the St. Mary’s Jazz Band, the Mercyaires kicked-off their performance season at a wine tasting party for the St. Mary’s Preparatory Auction.

“I really enjoyed getting to sing in such a unique venue because we’re usually on a stage,” said senior Natalie Apollinari, “but this time it was more personal, performing on the same level as the crowd.”

Since the wine tasting fell so early in the school year, preparing for the performance was no small feat. In fact, the choir and band had only one rehearsal together prior to the performance.

“It was one of those situations where you really have to practice at home because class time isn’t enough to put it together,” said Apollinari.

At the invitation of the band’s director, Mr. Joshua James, the Mercyaires performed three times during the band’s nine-song set.  Although two of the pieces performed are standards for the choir, the Mercyaires were challenged to learn and perfect a new selection, Puttin ‘ on the Ritz,  in just over a week of rehearsal.

Not only did new members need to learn the music, but returning Mercyaires also had to learn new voice parts. For example, senior Meg Makarewicz  embraced the challenge of switching from second soprano to alto.

“It is awesome getting to see everyone progress in their abilities so quickly when we are in such tough situations as this past week,” said Makarewicz. “We all got our parts down, and we ended up having a really great connection with the band and audience.”