Music: Reaching New Horizons

Music%3A+Reaching+New+Horizons

Jaclyn Godwin

The Mercyaires begin learning the new song that they will be taking to states in March.

Jaclyn Godwin, Staff Reporter

Walking into Howell High School dressed in their floor length black gowns, the Mercyaires participated for the first time in Michigan’s Solo and Ensemble on February 27th.  Choral Director, Amy Malaney calmed the girls down as they warmed up their voices for the performance.  Meanwhile, seniors Veronica Battersby and Diana Levandowski realized they had put on each other’s gowns.  They quickly ran to the restroom and switched dresses before entering the performance room.  Rushing back in before their performance began, the girls looked from one to another and smiled encouragingly.  They sang “The Ave Maria” followed by “I Gave my Love a Pretty Little Ring” and walked out with a rating of Excellent.

The Mercyaires are only one aspect of the music department at Mercy High School that has expanded over the last several years.   In addition to performing at different sites as the school’s “ambassadors,” the Mercyaires participated in a statewide competition.  The improvement in the program is notable.

This year, the Mercyaires moved from an after school activity to a class permitting girls to participate in sports as well.  This also allowed the choir to continue learning new repertoire and fine tuning songs even during the musical, when everyone’ schedule gets busier.

“I noticed in the last three years when I was here,” said Mrs. Malaney, “that when the musical started, so many of the girls were involved in [it], that the Mercyaires stopped meeting..and so we kind of lost the momentum and never regained it.”

The program has also been expanded in numbers.  This last semester, there were two choral sections in addition to the Mercyaires, called Glee 1 and Glee 2.  In the past, when the choirs were divided by grade level, it was often a struggle because there was a variety of skill levels in one class.

“I could never move the Mercyaires at the pace they needed to move” says Mrs. Malaney, “and also a lot of the inexperienced singers were frustrated because the content was a little bit beyond what a beginner musician would start at.”  This year the choirs were divided by experience and Mrs. Malaney was able to cater to each skill level.

Auditions for Mercyaires are February 13 for those interested in the program next year.

Steps are being taken to expand the Orchestra program at Mercy.  A survey was recently sent out to each advisor group to determine the interest in a more advanced program.  Mrs. Malaney has been a strong advocate of the music department during her time at Mercy and encourages her students and others to experience music.

“The thing I love,” says Mrs. Malaney, “is that I hear music so much more during the day even when I’m not teaching…I would like everyone to be encouraged to explore and see if they have a talent or a love for it.”