Ensemble sings at Braves game

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Fame is something that most teenagers can only dream of, but for the students of the Ensemble, that dream became a reality, even if just for a minute, on Sept. 10 when they sang the national anthem at the Braves game. Unfortunately for the Braves, the Milwaukee Brewers rallied in the seventh inning to break the Braves’ five-game winning streak with a 4-1 win, but the event was still successful and exciting for the singers.

Right before the first pitch of the game, the Ensemble students lined up along the first-base line to sing. Both the parents of the singers and the WCAT student broadcast team were present with cameras to take pictures, and the live feed was cast onto the matrix board at center field, showing singers’ faces at far bigger than life size.

“You’re up on a big screen 20 feet taller than you usually are,” said event organizer and attendee Scoot Dimon, “and so for a minute and 45 seconds you’re really famous, and you’re on TV!”

The singers’ excitement was evident on the enormous screen. Although some were nervous to be in front of such a large crowd, they all enjoyed the experience.

“I was excited to go to the Braves game and sing,” said senior Matthew Greene. “It’s pretty nerve-racking being in front of all of the cameras, but you’ve got to enjoy it while it lasts.”

 

 

Senior Jillian Puskas felt the same anxiety as Greene but also noted that the group enjoyed the event (and the funnel cakes afterward) last year as well as this year. Unlike Puskas and Green, some other members were less nervous and more excited just to be at the game.

“I thought it was awesome to sing at the Braves game,” said sophomore Sam Lauten. “It was really fun to sing for that many people. Plus, we were at the Braves game!”

The event was organized and coordinated by Dimon, the self-described “unofficial voice of the Wildcats.” Two years ago, a good friend of Dimon’s who now works for the Braves, Kyle Brodie, class of ’01, approached Dimon and asked him if the school would like to sing the national anthem for a game. Dimon talked to ensemble director Fred Scott, who said yes, and ensemble sang the anthem that year. The group has now been invited back for the second straight year after the trial year to sing at the Braves game. “Once we went down and did it once, everybody liked it,” said Dimon. “Everybody liked the kids; we sang well, we looked good, we were on time, and the Braves have invited us back two straight years.”

The Ensemble is a choral group composed of no more than 24 vocalists and can only be joined by audition. Due to the absence of Chewonki students Maggie Cushing and Matthew Clark, there are only 22 members during the 2012 fall semester. Auditions for each year’s group are held in the spring of the previous school year. As a general rule, any student who makes ensemble will also be accepted into the a cappella group of their gender and will automatically be placed in the 11th and 12th grade chorus. This is true even if the ensemble member is in 9th or 10th grade. However, ensemble does not trump all other groups, as it may seem to.

“To say that the ensemble is a more elite group is not quite fair,” said director of choral music Fred Scott, “but I will say that the ensemble’s music is by and large the most challenging music that any of our groups do.”

In order to sing at the Vatican during the coming spring break trip to Italy, the ensemble members are currently learning Renaissance music, including music from a Renaissance period Italian composer named Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Like WAC or MAC, ensemble rehearses once a week, typically at night, though ensemble is run by Scott while the a cappella groups are student-run.

Also unlike a cappella, ensemble does not hold concerts at the school. Venues in the past have included the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew the Great in London, various central European churches during a trip to Prague, the Cathedrals of Saint Philip and Christ the King in Atlanta, Callaway Gardens during the annual choir retreat, and assorted community service settings. The current members are all united in their excitement for the coming Italy trip, which will take them to Florence, Rome, and the Vatican, among other places.

 Watch the Ensemble’s performance here

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