Cities, Seas and Stars: Spring Concert sends audience on musical journey through community, culture


Photo credit: Anna Entin

Choir Director Hannah O’Connor leads middle school a capella, the Middle C’s, as they sing “Roar” by Katy Perry. A cappella, choir and orchestra groups came together to perform the Spring Concert May 3-5 in the amphitheater.

By Zoe Gazzuolo, Culture Editor

From Katy Perry’s “Roar to themes from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” the 2023 Spring Concert created connections across a wide range of music and led the audience through “Cities, Seas and Stars” to highlight the diversity and vastness of the world. 

The concert, “Cities, Seas and Stars,” included performances from the middle and upper school choirs and orchestras, the Unaccompanied Minors, The Middle C’s and The Bach Street Girls. The shows were open to all members of the Archer community, taking place May 3-5 in the amphitheater. 

Gemma Wyles (‘25) is a member of the upper school choir, Unaccompanied Minors and Archer’s music composition class. She said this year’s Spring Concert highlighted perspectives from around the world and showcased an array of musical genres and emotions, which made for a very engaging show.

“It’s about the integration of music alongside the integration of land, community and culture and seeing the different ways music we know and love can transcend our regular knowledge of music,” Wyles said. “It created connections that we wouldn’t normally see between different types of music.”

Every group sounded really strong, which gave this feeling of the whole event being really special and every single person being so valuable with what they bring to the performance and into [the] program.

— Orchestra Director Susan Smith

Assistant choir director and a cappella group manager Piper Rutman (‘23) has been a part of Archer’s choir and a cappella programs since her sixth grade. She began composing and arranging songs performed in Archer concerts her freshman year and arranged four songs in this year’s Spring Concert: “Night Changes,” “Surrender,” the show’s finale and the seniors’ goodbye performance.

“All the songs that we’re working on are related to different aspects of our world, be that something sweet and melodic or something upbeat and pop,” Rutman said. “Being able to arrange so many pieces of music for the concert is such great opportunity to showcase your music.”

Orchestra Director Susan Smith said seeing students step into leadership positions and shine in a new way was her favorite aspect of this concert, and each show had an spirited atmosphere filled with talent.

“I actually felt in particular that in this show everybody’s excitement was heightened from other shows, which was great. Everybody felt really proud,” Smith said. “Every group sounded really strong, which gave this feeling of the whole event being really special and every single person being so valuable with what they bring to the performance and into [the] program.”

Wyles, Rutman and upper school orchestra member Natalie Huang (’25) all emphasized the significant amount of support and connection cultivated among the choir, a cappella and orchestra groups through the concert.

“There’s a large feeling of community; it’s a lot of fun,” Huang said. “It can be stressful, but I’ve really appreciated the community that it’s been able to help me build. I’ve met a lot of people and made many friends there.”

Rutman said this Spring Concert marked a new beginning, and although she is sad to move on, she is excited for her future endeavors. 

“The concert represented a culmination of all the work I’ve put into the music program over the years, as Ms. O’Connor and I built the music program from the ground up when I was in ninth grade,” Rutman said. “After so many years of crazy changes and discovering who I was at the same time, the concert was a moment where it all came to a close.”