Women’s and Madrigals choirs prepare for new year


GRHS Choir bulletin board outside of D-110. Ms. Lilikas took it upon herself to completely redecorate the board before Back to School Night.

by Patricia Whyte, Staff Writer

Hearing the sounds of students singing coming from room D-110 during the school day isn’t a strange occurrence, but every Monday night, starting at 6:30 in the evening, one can hear the voices of choir students laughing and singing until 8:30 at night. These are the Women’s and Madrigals choirs.

Auditions for the select Madrigals and Women’s choirs took place on Sept. 26 and 27 immediately after school.

Students who auditioned were required to sing both a diatonic and chromatic scale in their appropriate voice part, sight read a four-measure melody, and sing a brief solo entitled Sicut Locutus Est. A diatonic scale is an eight note scale with each pitch one whole step apart, your basic do-re-mi scale. A chromatic scale is a twelve note scale where each of the notes are a half step apart. Most students consider the chromatic scale the most difficult part of the audition. 

The Women’s choir, the Madrigals choir and the Concert choir are all under the direction of Mr. Carl Helder and Ms. Anna Lilikas. Lilikas is new to the choir this year.

“I had really prepared myself for a period of instability after our beloved Phyllis Sneyers retired a school year ago.  It’s been interesting to see and hear some different perspectives and approaches to working with young singers,” Helder said. Helder hopes that the students will be willing and eager to learn from their new director this year.

Lilikas has made it a goal this year to get her students to sing with more emotion and movement than they have in the past. She strives to take out the stiffness from their performances and add more fluidity.

“Its great because not only do I get to teach and instruct, but we can also work together musically and just make music which is fantastic,” Lilikas said.

Caitlin Rundle (‘18) has been a member of both the Concert Choir and Women’s choir since her freshman year, and a member of the Madrigals choir since her sophomore year.

“In Women’s and Madrigals everybody there is next level with their talent and techniques and everything about it is just a little more serious,” Rundle said. “Of course we make jokes and have fun but everyone understands that we need to accomplish a goal in a lot less time than a normal choir.”

The select choirs sing a variety of different music genres, including contemporary pieces, spiritual pieces, and classical pieces. Over the summer, Helder and Lilikas met to select the pieces that the choirs will performing this year.

“We look for musically interesting works at various skill levels in a variety of choral writing styles that we felt the students would enjoy,” Helder said.

Members of both the Madrigals and Women’s choirs as well as students in the Concert Choir will go on the annual choir trip and compete in a choral competition, taking place in Orlando, Florida this year.

The first fundraising event for the trip will be Cabaret night on October 19th. Last year, Cabaret Night raised about a thousand dollars for the choir trip.

“I always enjoy the event.  We have some very talented students,” Helder said.