Chamber choir writes song with alumna

Chorus

Photo Credit: Ms. Joanne Mamenta

Ms. Nancy Turner directs the choir in celebration if the 60th anniversary of the founding of Harpeth Hall.

Lindsey Lanquist, Arts Editor
December 15, 2011
Filed under A&E Archives

The Harpeth Hall community celebrated its 60th anniversary this fall.

The event was commemorated with an assembly, featuring a performance by the Chamber Choir.

The choir members sang a song they wrote with Suzi Ragsdale, a singer-songwriter who graduated from Harpeth Hall. Ragsdale occasionally returns to perform on campus and performed at Sunday on Souby two years ago.

“The Advancement Office thought it would be fun to have Suzi write and perform a song with our upper school girls,” Ms. Turner said. “Since the Chamber Choir was performing for the Leadership Dinner in September, that was the perfect opportunity for us to get together.”

According to Ms. Turner, Ragsdale created the melody, and the choir members decided to write about different generations of Harpeth Hall. Then, the girls divided into smaller groups, each writing a section of the lyrics.

“I was teaching the alma mater to the middle school, so the words to it were sitting on top of the piano when the girls were writing their lyrics,” Ms. Turner said. “This is where they got the idea to finish the song with the alma mater, although sung to a different tune, which makes you think about it in a different way.”

According to Natalie May, senior member of the Chamber Choir, the choir did not face any obstacles when writing the song.

“Our group collaborates really well,” said May. “Having a bunch of girls working with a pro like Suzi ensured that there were plenty of creative juices.”

Ms. Turner and May were both pleased with the final product.

“I think it’s a beautiful song,” said Ms. Turner. “It is very personal to the girls who wrote it; it expresses their love of Harpeth Hall and their hopes and dreams for the future.”

“Personally, I tear up whenever we sing the bridge,” May said. “The lyrics refer to graduation and our ‘long white gowns,’ and oh my heavens, it gets me every time.”

According to Turner, the Chamber Choir may collaborate with an alumna again in a few years.

“If the right time and opportunity comes along,” said Ms. Turner, “I’m sure the girls would enjoy doing this again.”

May recommends this project because it gives students the chance to experience the process of writing a song and leads to a piece that all members of the Harpeth Hall community can appreciate.

“Writing music comes from the heart and the mind, using melodies, words, ideas and emotions with the beauty of harmony to pull it all together,” Ms. Turner said. “I’m so glad that our girls got the opportunity to express their creativity in this way.”

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