Members of Downbeat perform short song during school meeting


Cheryl Liu

Downbeat sits in a semi-circle formation in Catherine Snider’s room to practice for the Winter Concert on Friday. Comprised of members who do individual voice training, the group learns the dance and routine for a song in approximately a week.

The boys of Downbeat performed their rendition of “Holly Jolly Christmas” today during school meeting as a brief sneak peek of the upcoming Conservatory performances on Friday.

“Holly Jolly Christmas,” a piece selected by Performing Arts Department Chair Laura Lang-Ree,  was chosen for its brevity and short preparation time.

“I think [the performance] was good. I think the whole idea was to showcase what we’re all about and what to expect from us this coming Friday,” Downbeat member Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari (11) said.

In preparation for Friday’s Winter Concert, Downbeat has been practicing songs that it previously performed. Though acquainted with the musical pieces, the group faces a new challenge in adapting to different stages at each campus.

“We’re doing it in the gym, so that’s a relatively small stage when you compare it to Bucknall and Blackford, and Blackford is also in the cafetorium, so that’s a small space,” Stephan Pellissier (12) said. “There’s a whole bunch of challenges just with adjusting the mics and how we sing and how we project, which has to go with where we’re performing.”

Downbeat typically rehearses its performances under the guidance of Choral Music teacher Jennah Somers, who is filling in for Performing Arts teacher Jennifer Sandusky, absent on maternity leave. Collaborating with Somers is Lang-Ree, who manages the performance aspects and choreography.