On Friday, October 8th, the Performing Arts Department presented the annual showcase: Works in Progress. The show has historically taken place on family weekend in the PAC after a community dinner in the SHAC. This year the event was slightly modified to ensure the safety of the Concord Academy community and its visitors, but 2021’s Works in Progress was hosted on campus and on stage.
While this year’s Friday dinner featured tents and food trucks, CA’s Cabaret upheld the tradition of performing while families enjoyed their food. The group put on two impromptu performances at both dining locations: the stufac patio and the quad. Technical difficulties in their second showing caused the music to cut out mid-performance. With utmost professionalism, the group continued on and finished the piece, encouraging the audience to clap with them to keep tempo.
After dinner, several of the Performing Arts ensembles performed indoors. To decrease the number of people in a given space, the show was held in three separate locations, inviting parents to explore more of CA’s campus and performing arts spaces. To allow for everyone to enjoy each ensemble there were three shifts of shows: the first occurring at 6:30, the next at 6:50, and the last at 7:10. In each location, the designated groups performed a ten-minute program which granted the audience time to move from one location to the next.
The chapel hosted two ensemble singing groups – Chorus and CA singers – directed by Performing Arts Department Head Michael Bennett, as well as the Chameleon Chamber Players led by Meghan Miller. The CA Singers performed first, singing an acapella arrangement of “You Are the New Day”. The Chameleon Chamber Players, a seniors-only group this year, played “Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano” composed by Paul Hindemith in 1938. The chorus concluded the program with “Come to me, O my love” accompanied by piano.
In the PAC the Advanced Jazz Ensemble and Vocal Jazz and Pop Ensemble assumed the impressive undertaking of performing a different program every show, resulting in each ensemble playing three pieces over the course of the hour. Advanced Jazz, conducted by Chris Gagne, performed “April in Paris”, “A Child is Born” and, “Double Guatemala”. The outstanding singers of Vocal Jazz and Pop, Luna Cabrera ’23, Neva Gonzalez ’23, Alex Taylor ’22, and Anni Taylor ’25, produced three stunning performances of “Valerie”, “Rock Steady” and, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.
Finally, across campus in the SHAC was CA Dance Project, headed by the wonderful directors Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady. New this year was the opportunity for the group to perform in the dance studio rather than on the stage of the PAC. The ten-minute run time was expertly filled, as dancers performed to African-inspired pieces by the Kronos Quartet.
While Family Weekend and Works in Progress looked different this year than in years past, it was a successful and well-organized production that enthusiastically showcased the talented Concord Academy students and faculty in performing arts.
Photo courtesy of Concord Academy