By: Hadassah Reich  | 

Spring Has Sprung with Choral and Instrumental Music Ensembles’ Mini-Musicale

The grand piano stood in front of a whiteboard that was covered in music notes. Paper programs, headed with an elegant cursive title, sat on the chair of each desk. The small, hot music classroom slowly filled with students until there was standing room only, with more students overflowing into the hallway. On Monday evening, April 15, Room 401 of 245 Lexington brimmed with excitement, as audience members and performers alike anticipated the beginning of the Spring Mini-Musicale.

Choral and Instrumental Music Ensemble, two classes in Stern’s music department, have been working on pieces throughout the spring semester in preparation of their annual Musicale event. The Spring Mini-Musicale is an important event that functions as both a demonstration of a semester's worth of hard work, and also provides a space for Stern students to showcase their musical talents. 

“Our classes throughout the entire spring semester were focused on learning and practicing songs in preparation for the Musicale,” said Brooke Kohl (SCW ‘26), who performed in the Choral Ensemble. “We had an amazing group of students in our class, as well as the awesome Professor Young, and I am honored to have gotten to sing with them.”

Professor Marcia Young, who teaches both Choral and Instrumental Music Ensemble classes, briefly introduced the event, after which the performance began. Kicking off the set list was a piano duet by Hannah Mamet (SCW ‘25) and Avery Allen (SCW ‘24), performing “French Folksong” arranged by Louis Köhler and “Ländler” by Heinrich Friedrich Enckhausen. Allen stayed at the piano, and she was joined by both Sara Lesczynski (SCW ‘25) and Flora Shemtob (SCW ‘24) on the guitar, Hayley Goldberg (SCW ‘26) on the violin, as well as Professor Young playing the harp. Together they played three pieces, two of which were composed by Adriano Banchieri, “Canzon” and “Sonata sopra l’Aria musicale del Gran Duca.”

“Choral Ensemble is one of my favorite classes in Stern,” Miriam Bluth (SCW ‘24) said. “We have a ton of fun and Professor Young is an excellent teacher and mentor and I’ve really seen a lot of improvement in my own voice because of her teaching.” 

Following the instrumental performance, the Choral Ensemble featuring Aliza Billet (SCW ‘26), Bluth, Talia Feldman (SCW ‘26), Goldberg, Kohl, Shemtob, Tamara Yeshurun (SCW ‘26) and Avygayl Zucker (SCW ‘24), performed. They sang five musical pieces including a series of canons and an Italian aria. 

“I had a blast performing in the Spring Musicale. I signed up for Choral Ensemble not really knowing what it was but just wanting an opportunity to sing,” Billet shared. Billet also noted that she never sang in a language she didn’t understand before, referring to the Italian piece, “Ombra mai fu.” 

Some students shared with The Commentator that since opportunities to share musical talents can be rare for Jewish women in Orthodox spaces, events like the Spring Mini-Musicale are extremely important, as they give Stern students a platform to perform. “I have always loved performing. It’s been a part of me in every way, shape and form since I was young,” said Goldberg, who played the violin in the Instrumental Ensemble. “Being at a religious school, I wasn’t sure if I would get that again, but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to perform in both the Chamber and Instrumental Ensembles.”

The performers got to share the culmination of their hard work, and the audience got to enjoy some really good live music. It was a classic win-win scenario. As Chavi Major (SCW ‘26), an audience member, said, “It was so fun to go and watch what our classmates spent the semester putting together. Everyone is so talented.”

After a day of back-to-back classes, being transported by melody and instruments was delightful. It was evident that much time, energy, and skill went into this performance, and it was a pleasure to watch and listen. To put it simply, “it rocked socks,” as Eliana Diamond (SCW ‘25) told The Commentator. 

When the performances were over, the student-musician-singers took their bows, and if the audience’s round of applause did not make it clear that this was a stellar performance, Professor Young’s beaming face sure did. 


Photo caption: This year’s Choral and Instrumental Music Ensemble students with Professor Marica Young

Photo credit: Ellie Minsky