Smith ensembles deliver a sunny show amidst the rain with “Montage”

PHOTO COURTESY OF SMITH.EDU  This year, “Montage” featured a series of royal hits and blasts from the past.


This year, “Montage” featured a series of royal hits and blasts from the past.

Phoebe Lease ’21 | Arts Editor

Students and their parents took refuge from last Saturday’s rain to enjoy performances by a variety of Smith’s ensemble groups in John M. Greene Hall. “Montage” is sponsored by the Smith music department, and this year’s theme centered around royalty, which came through both in the music and the names of the artists chosen to cover.

The concert started on a cheerful note as the Wind Ensemble took on “Joy Revisited” by composer Frank Ticheli, shortly followed by tunes about Scottish nobility by the Wailing Banshees. The Vibes focused on American Hollywood royalty with their cover of “Grace Kelly,” and Blackapella paid respects to the late Aretha Franklin with her song “Young, Gifted, and Black.” The Jazz Ensemble gave Lorde’s “Royals” an interesting spin, featuring a quartet of singers and a soaring brass section in lieu of the sparse arrangement of the original. The Smithereens also followed the theme with “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé with a beautiful solo by Ebony Moseley ’20.

Other groups decided to play on the names of artists, with covers of Prince, Elle King and multiple renditions of Queen songs. Noteables gave their confident, tongue-in-cheek version of “Ex’s and Oh’s,” a good contrast to the sweet, ringing tones of the Handbell Choir’s performance of “I See the Light” from the Disney movie, “Tangled.”

One of the most memorable moments of the concert was the Glee Club’s cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This is a song that is widely covered but often not given its due justice, and having flashbacks to my own attempt at it in middle school choir, I was wary to hear any other version than the original. However, the group chose a wonderful arrangement, which featured a dynamic guitar solo by Professor Steve Waksman. The high energy of both the choir and student conductor Hannah Grossman ’20 gave the song the spirit it usually lacks in other covers and was met with loud applause from the audience.

Crapapella elicited many laughs from the audience as they performed a medley of Queen’s hits, starting off the performance with their signature warning: “We’re Crapapella, and we’re sorry.” After a lively performance of the symphonic suite from “Fellowship of the Rings” by the Smith Orchestra, Glee Club joined the group for a sing-along finale of “Dancing Queen.” All in all, it was a light-hearted celebration that reflected the bustling energy on campus from Family Weekend.

Upcoming concerts include: “All Cappella!” this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, which features three Smith acapella groups as well as groups from Hampshire and Amherst College; next Saturday at 4 p.m. will be the “Autumn Serenade” at Sweeney Concert Hall, with performances by the Glee Club, Chamber Singers and the Smith College Campus School Choir; Smith’s Orchestra will have its fall concert Nov. 17, also at Sweeney Concert Hall at 8 p.m.