LaGrange High prepares for 29th annual Spring Concert

Published 7:30 pm Friday, March 29, 2019

By Libby Criswell

As the LaGrange High School Chorus prepares for its 29th annual Spring Concert, the current and former choral directors took the time to reflect on how much the program has grown in almost three decades.

The first LHS Spring Concert was held in 1991 under the direction of Marty Davis, who took the job as the LHS choral director following her move to LaGrange. After spending time singing with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Davis was interested in teaching and saw her new job as an opportunity to share everything she knew with a younger generation of musicians.

“I was so excited about all of that, and the students came in, and I just started filling them up with everything that I thought I knew,” Davis said. “I wanted the kids to have the opportunity to do the things that I had done.”

Davis’ motive for creating the Spring Concert was not just to produce a show for entertainment, but also to educate the students and their parents. She introduced the LaGrange community to a wide variety of musical styles, including Broadway songs and classical music. Davis said she tried to instill a strong work ethic within each of her students.

“[The students] could see their own growth, they could see how they were changing as young musicians and how they were changing as students. Because if you learn a really good work ethic, it sort of bleeds into other things that you do,” Davis said. “You must develop your skills for singing and for performing. I wanted [the students] to have that and I tried to teach that.”

Between the singing, the dancing, the costumes, the solos, the variety of music that is performed and the hard work put in by students, Spring Concert has become a tradition in the LaGrange community that has lasted for almost 30 years.

“I think it’s really interesting, and I’ve often asked myself, ‘why is it still going? What is it about the show that makes it still go on?’ Davis said. “And I guess, again, it’s the kids that are willing to do the work.”

Davis thinks that her students were challenged, enjoyed their time as members of the LHS chorus and became very good singers.

“I loved working with the kids, and I have such a passion for teaching music. We were all excited to bring [Spring Concert] to life, and we were all very said when it was over,” Davis said. “It comes together as a pretty amazing thing for a town this size to be able to do year after year. A lot of really great people sang and danced on that stage, and I’m glad I got to [teach them]. It’s a life well spent.”

Following Davis’ retirement, the chorus students found themselves without a teacher.

“They were really passionate about the program, and they wanted the tradition to continue,” said Katie Trent, an alumna of the LHS chorus and now its current director. “The principal, Mr. Cole, reached out to me about a long-term sub position.”

Trent took the substitute position, which eventually became a permanent position. She put together her first few Spring Concerts with help from Davis. During this transition, the show kept its original purpose and form.

“The LHS chorus has been inspiring a younger generation of performers for a really long time. And I think young students see the level of excellence that is on that stage, and they want to be a part of it,” Trent said. “That was what inspired me to pursue music in the first place. It really impacted me in a big way.”

One of Trent’s favorite parts about teaching music as LHS is seeing the growth in her students, and the ownership they take in the production.

“Chorus is unique because I get to teach students for multiple years in a row,” Trent said. “I think it’s really special in terms of relationship building. It’s just really exciting to see the transformation that can take place from freshman to senior year.”

Trent said that she would encourage the public to come see this year’s 29th annual Spring Concert because it’s the kind of show that lifts the audience’s spirit.

“You leave that place feeling better than when you walked in,” she said.

The theme of this year’s show is “love.” There will be songs about romantic love, songs about breakups and humorous songs about love.

“It’s not confined to just one style. There’s rock, hip-hop, Broadway and pop,” Trent said. “Something for everybody.”

Spring Concert will be held at the LHS auditorium on April 25, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks.