North hosts Grayslake Choir Festival


Courtesy of Trevor James

Choirs, including North, perform at the Grayslake Choir Festival.

North recently hosted the Grayslake Choir Festival in which students involved in the choir programs at Grayslake Middle School, Palombi, Park, Central, and North performed, each singing their own songs while also performing some together. 

“We were doing it before the pandemic,” said choir director, Dr. Paul Nielsen. “And then we lost a couple years. Last year, we weren’t allowed to have the event.” 

But after years of being unable to bring the Grayslake choirs together, the event returned in full swing this October.

“I’m guessing that there had to be over 200 kids singing together,” Nielsen said.

“There were so many parents, so many kids,” said junior Grace James, who has been involved in choir since 5th grade. “It was really cool to sing with Central’s choir and see what they’re like and meet the new choir director. Having that many voices in a room is really powerful.”

The festival also gave the middle school students an opportunity to become familiar with the choir programs at their future high schools.

Sophomore Jeyvin Coleman said that “being able to see who might be coming in next year since our choir program is really small” was one of his favorite parts of the event.

The choir spent the past few weeks preparing for the festival.

“We had to learn a couple pieces of music that we were going to perform by ourselves. We learned one piece of music that we performed with Central, and then we learned a piece of music that we all performed with the middle schools,” Nielsen said.

Of those four songs, James and Coleman both agreed “Esto Los Digo,” sung in Spanish and performed with Central’s choir, was their favorite.

“I think it’s really beautiful,” James said.

Coleman also enjoyed performing “Lamentations of Jeremiah” with his fellow North choir students.

Nielsen, Coleman, and James all agree that taking choir is not only enjoyable but beneficial. 

“Everything is a group activity. You don’t get that in other classes,” Nielsen said. “And so we sort of create our own community in that way. We explore a lot of expression; we have a lot of fun doing what we do.”

North and Central sang a song in Spanish at the festival, but choir also exposes students to other languages.

“We’ve been singing so many songs in so many different languages,” Coleman said. Nielsen listed some of the other languages they’ve sung in, including Latin, Danish, Haitian, Georgian, Romanian, and Italian. They learn the meaning of the lyrics to add to their performance of the piece. 

The recent Grayslake Choir Festival was a celebration of school choir after a year away, and it succeeded in bringing the middle and high school choirs of the Grayslake area together.