By Caileadair Holmes ‘22
On Saturday, October 27, while it might have seemed drizzly and dismal outside, the inside of the HOP echoed with rich voices and musical melodies.
“Dartmouth Sings” was more than a concert. It is an event so centered in our being of music and togetherness that it is acts as a wonderful reminder of everything positive: what it means to be a community, a family, love and diversity. The combination of vocal excellence, fun and even audience participation pulls anyone listening into a feeling of good vibes and good people. With songs like Respect and Natural Woman (and many more) dedicated to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, the soloists not only did her justice, but blew us away with sophistication, vocal expertise and incredible stage presence. Alongside the dedication to Aretha, there was a remembrance of Leonard Bernstein, composer of West Side Story. The combination of a comedic rap battle spin off from the Sharks and the Jets and the delightful rendition of an I Feel Pretty remix reminded us all of Bernstein’s work and the creativity and excitement in the arts. It allowed us to relive and continue to support the famous works of those who made a big difference in the realm of music.
In comparison to the works dedicated to their famous creators, one specific show erupted the glass ceiling, and finally bringing attention to the struggle complexities of black women in America. This original piece encompassed four unique woman with extraordinary voices telling four different stories of a black woman in American social history. This piece, both beautifully rich and passionate, played to each individual in the audience, grabbing our attention and refusing to let go; it was, indeed, a exceptional artistic form in all its endeavor, tying the strong social message with the bold and, may I add, stunning unique voices in which it was expressed.
Of course, the ensembles, accompanied by the band, filled the room with intense joy and energy. The vocal ensemble groups each provided a key component of an enriching community but both recognizing the positive aspects of this society, and, if not most importantly, the social work that still needs to be done, here and across the country. And for that, they have encouraged and crafted important messages through art, demonstrating how music provides a wonderful base to express needs, struggles, and upcoming triumphs; it has set standards for how the world should look: inclusive, loving, and diverse.