Winter Arts Festival Choral Concert

The chance to be back on stage in front of an audience provided camaraderie and memories that will last a lifetime.


Photo: R. Colameco

Luke Gueriera, Friar Life Editor

The Arts at Malvern have been a flourishing center of the school’s culture since the construction of the Duffy Arts Center; however, there is one aspect of the Arts that has been a staple in the community for many decades—music. From the symphonies of the God Band to the stellar harmonies of the Men’s Choir, Malvern’s music department was more than ready to be back in action with the Winter Arts Festival Choral Concert.

“This was our first concert back since the pandemic, so it was really great to have everyone back together and onstage singing again,” Mr. Ed Liga, Director of the Men’s Choir & Liturgical Music, said. “Along with this, for the first time in a while we had the Notre Dame Women’s Chorale join us, which was an excellent addition of wonderful talent.”

“It felt absolutely surreal finally being under the lights again,” Senior Men’s Choir member, Kevin Cary ‘22 said after two years without a concert.

Participants and spectators alike, were excited to be a part of a well-loved Malvern tradition once again.

“There was a very good turnout for the event, considering all of the concerns around COVID at the time. It was nice to see that so many people were able to attend safely to enjoy the concert,” Senior Men’s Choir member Billy Mullray ‘22 said.

“Litmus [Liturgical Music] typically kicks off every concert, followed by a fantastic performance of the Middle School Chorus,” Cary said. “We [the concert] then go to an always soothing Guitar Ensemble set and move on to Men’s Chorus, then usually conclude with Litmus once again.”

As one might expect, bringing a performance like this to life is undoubtedly a serious commitment.

“All of the musical groups started preparing for the concert from the first day of school, which was in late August,” Mullray said. 

“My ensembles were kind of a grind due to this intensive schedule,” Liga said. “In order to get sufficient practice, the administration allowed me to have a special schedule for one ensemble to meet at 8 am, then the next week meet at 3 pm. Although it wasn’t the best possible scenario, it enabled us to do what we do.”

“Preparation for concerts is very time-consuming and effort draining. We can’t just get off the bus and throw strikes with this kind of music,” Cary said.

Even with the Omicron variant gaining some heat, the Choral Concert was, fortunately, able to squeak in an in-person performance to raise some Christmas cheer before the break. 

“My favorite song we did was the song that I was a solo in, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home). My brother sang the same solo a while back in my freshman year, and for me to be able to step into his shoes was fulfilling at last,” Cary said.

“I think that there was a good balance between the upbeat songs and some of the slower pieces,” Mullray said. “My personal favorite might have to be either Glow by Eric Whitacre or Lirum Lirum by Thomas Morley.”

Cary, Mullray, and many of the other performers certainly did not go unnoticed, especially in taking on more stand-out roles.

“We had seniors Chris Corrielus and Kevin Cary each do verses of O Holy Night, which were excellent. There were also some really great features from some other juniors and seniors,” Liga said.

A successful concert is accredited to the hard work of the ensembles, but they are well aware of the indispensable mentorship that allowed them to create a night like this.  

“He (Liga) is one of the best music teachers in the world, period,” Cary said. “Mr. Liga truly is an amazing person and I wouldn’t be the same if I had never been able to have him in my Malvern career.”

“Whether it be setting up the stage or teaching us our parts, he (Liga) was always helping alongside to make sure that the night was a success,” Mullray said.

Clearly, Malvern music is off to a great start, and there is already preparing for more performances this year.

“Inspired by the recent 50th year anniversary of Disney World, the Men’s Chorus and Notre Dame Women’s Chorale are going to be doing a Disney-themed Spring Concert,” Liga said. “The concert is currently scheduled for Sunday, May 15th, 2022.” 

Evidently, the choir was thrilled to be back in action and this traditional event promised, as always, to provide lifelong memories.

“I loved the concert itself, but I most appreciated the aftermath of it. I’ve always loved the applause and the feeling of walking out of Duffy Hall, knowing that we’ve done a great job of working and getting everything right up to that point,” Cary said. “Seeing everyone, high fives, and joy in each other’s eyes is something that I will never forget after I’m done at Malvern. This will be something I carry with me forever.”