What follows would otherwise be a reflective post on my time this semester in this choir whose name I still can't pronounce (can't we just call ourselves "Not Pitch Slapped"?), but there are more pressing matters to discuss.
When I auditioned for Crepusculum last year, my only qualification was that I have the voice of Darth Vader. Every prior experience I had singing only served to remind me why I'm a guitarist. However, Crepusculum, to my surprise, admitted me, and put me into the fabled Bass 2 section. This semester I had the pleasure of working with two other Bass 2s, who I am quite close with, Jon and Eddie.
I could speak volumes about the shenanigans the 3 of us frequently indulged in throughout the semester, the pinnacle of which involved a whoopee cushion and a quiet hallway outside of a room that our directors were having a meeting in.
But there are more pressing matters to discuss, really just one:
Eddie's shoes are blue Vans® shoes, covered in a myriad of white mistletoe patterns, with white laces. They look like what would happen if you put on a blank pair of Vans® shoes, and repeatedly kicked a smurf wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and then ran through a field of Hawaiian shirts, getting the patterns all over your shoes.
I've thought and thought about why one would want shoes with mistletoes all over them, and I think I figured it out: It's Christmas Eve and Eddie has just gotten back from a date with his girlfriend. He's walking her up the stoop to her front door, and is eager for that first kiss. He thinks and thinks, searching for the right line. Nothing comes to him though, and the clock is ticking. He looks at his feet and sees the mistletoes on his shoes - bingo. He removes them, holds them over the head of his girlfriend, who looks up, rolls her eyes, and walks inside.
Eddie's shoes really are remarkable. He tells me that his mother bought him those shoes, but I don't believe him. I think that's just what his shoes want us to believe.
There were many a rehearsal where we'd be practicing a song, and I would suddenly see them out of the corner of my eye, calling out to me.
I sometimes would wonder:
Was Eddie wearing his shoes? Or were his shoes wearing him?
Or perhaps, those shoes were Eddie's horcruxes that he kept fragments of his soul in for safe keeping?
Or maybe they're what give Eddie such a rich, creamy, bass voice?
Perhaps without them, Eddie would be a mere tenor.
I remember one night I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and whispered Eddie's name three times, and his shoes appeared in the mirror. There was another Bass 2 in our section at the beginning of the semester, who we don't talk about. On the first day of rehearsal, he accidentally stepped on Eddie's shoes, and the next morning his body was found in the Charles River. We wanted to go to the police, but were too afraid.
Fun fact: The tag inside the shoe doesn't list the sizes or materials of the shoe. Instead, there's just a picture of Chuck Norris.
Crepusculum, this semester, was intense to say the least. We sang 12 songs, most which were in foreign languages. We learned so many languages that I've started to apply to be a translator for the EU. And they say music majors can't find jobs.
There was a lot of growth this semester in the group. We took on a noticeably challenging repertoire and a rigorous rehearsal schedule, and did it all on top of everything else we had going on in our lives. There were certainly growth pains that came with all of this, but we ultimately pulled through. I learned that it's important to keep in mind what your purpose is in any endeavor on which you embark, if you wish to succeed in it. I know for a lot of us, Crepusculum is our little community within Berklee. It's where we go to sort of get away from the day-to-day grind that is the Berklee College of Spending Money on Stupid Signs. Crepusculum has certainly been a blessing for me, and I look forward to seeing where it goes in the future.
As I witness the long snaking lines that form in front of stores on Black Friday, I cannot help but think about the massive irony that is Thanksgiving. First, people thank the Lord about how blessed they are to have all that they have, and then proceed to stuff their faces with a disgusting amount of food, knowing full well that there are people starving on the streets. Then, as soon as the sun sets, these very people who are 'thankful for all that they have', hop in their cars to go on a shopping spree like there is no tomorrow. If you are not able to find the tiniest of ironies in that, I would like to award you with the 'Ignorant Capitalist of the Year' award. But I am not here to talk about politics or race or religion or any of that nonsense. I am here merely to pose a question; a question that may seem to have a clearer cut answer than others. Are you really thankful?
Thankfulness is a concept that we created based on the amount of happiness that we have for something. This makes it completely subjective and qualitative. However, much like the emotion of love, we know for certain whether or not the emotion of happiness is present or not. Someone once said that love is the only emotion capable of transcending time, space and dimension, but I beg to differ. Happiness can also be felt through different chronological, spacial, and dimensional points. For example, I could be in a galaxy far away from earth, a million years behind earth time, and still appreciate a musical recording of Michael Jackson that was taken in 1989. If I did not have an emotional connection with that recording, however, things may be a little bit different. It is very well then, that music provokes emotion in us. Whether they are good or bad emotions, it does not matter. Being able to feel emotions is what makes us human.
A month or two before my grandfather passed away, I had the chance to sing a song for him. The song in particular that I sang for him, called "Umi Sono Ai", which translates to "Ocean, Your Limitless Love” meant a lot for both of us. It was originally sung by a singer from my grandfather's generation, and is about the grandeur of the ocean, a place that was very dear to his heart as he grew up in the port city of Yokosuka. It also happens to be the graduation song of my high school, as it talks about setting sail from home and going on an adventure into the unknown. As I sang the song, I witnessed my grandfather, who had been bed-ridden for half a decade and who had remained in a state of constant confusion between being awake and being in a dream, come back to life. His drowsy eyes suddenly opened wide, and his frown turned into a smile. For a moment, his ability to feel emotions kicked in. He was human again. It was a beautiful sight to behold. It was at this moment that I witnessed the power of music in real time. As I finished singing, a string of words came out of my grandfather's mouth in such a smooth fashion that it reminded me of my childhood, in which he would talk to me about history as I sat on his lap. "Be grateful for the gift of music that was given to you by the gods above. Be grateful for your parents for letting you share this gift to the world by having you as I am grateful for them for providing me with a grandson like you to whom the gift of music was given." He said before falling asleep again.
The next time I heard his voice was the last time, and this is what he said "I may not see you for a very long time, but remember this: always be grateful for what you have. I am grateful that I had you." The next day I left for Boston to start a new adventure.
I am a true believer in the power of music, as I am sure many people are, and I am thankful that I have been able to realise it. It may be hard to be thankful when things are looking down, but we must never forget that someone out there, whether they be in a different time zone, space, or dimension, really appreciates us. And for this, I am truly thankful.
~Edward Sho Sweeney
My name is Paden Osburn; I am a sophomore at Berklee and I have been in Crep for three semesters now.
Coming from a four-year long high school choir career to a very contemporary music school with few choir opportunities, I needed an outlet fast. I don’t know what that musical outlet would have been if I had not found Crep. At the “Welcome Back BBQ” that happens every fall for all Berklee students, I found Crepusculum. My expectations were unsure, but little did I know, I would be joining one of the best families I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.
Being in Crep has helped my self-confidence in myself and in my voice. Every member is wonderful, talented, and passionate about his or her career path here at Berklee. It does my heart good to be surrounded by such overwhelming positivity 24/7. Being with others who appreciate you for who you are and what you stand for is a blessing. Especially in today’s world, friendship, consistency, and love are hard to come by. It’s been a rough year for me, and every time I turned around; Crep was there. When I needed a hug or kind word; Crep was there. When I needed to sing my heart out to release my emotions; Crep was there. Crep is the family that, at the time, I didn’t know I needed.
Just like any tight, well-knit family, sometimes we quarrel and disagree. But the rarity that follows is that we always overcome our conflicts, no matter what they’re about. Over time, I’ve realized that we do this because we all genuinely have love for each other. We care about each other’s well being; when one Creppie is sad, we’re all sad for them; the group is very empathetic. Though our emotions run high at times, music heals us. Joining together to sing beautiful notes is why we’re here, and we do a really good job of never forgetting that.
It might be cliché, but when you join a choir, you really do join a family. I found role models and inspirations for myself as a composer, a woman, and a human in this choir. I’ve doubled over laughing until I’ve cried in this choir. I’ve been a part of a couple of the most moving performances I’ve ever given in this choir. I found one of my best friends in this choir. You never know what to expect in a group like this, and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
Saturday the 12th was *sniff* our last Marriott of the semester. Good thing we killed it, *grunt* get PUMPED! Jarred, our third bass 1, couldn’t sing but instead recorded us, so eventually I’ll be able to hear what we sound like without me singing over it; that’ll be great. And I can show the choir off to people, should it become necessary to do so. And Jarred can edit the basses mistakes out with a high pass filter, should it become necessary to do so.
There were, as usual, a couple of times people either upstairs or downstairs, unaware of what they were missing, were a bit loud, but in one amusing instance Jarred leaned over the bannister or whatever that little fence thing is called and adorably shushed the kids downstairs. Add that sample to the laugh track.
The Thursday rehearsal before the Marriott was… interesting. Half of us were still in shock for election related reasons, so it was very relaxed. We’d made Laura shed tears during our performance of sleep the previous Marriott, so as ancient and holy rules dictated she bought us all donuts. Try the Eggnog ones from Dunkin; they’re pretty lit. At least I think it was Eggnog.
We got in a circle and sang that way instead. It was like every song was an exaggeration of itself. Reminded me of “Soap Opera Night” from high school drama, where during the last tech rehearsal, everybody exaggerated every line and every movement. Like a soap opera. We basically did the equivalent for choir music. Tykus had Claire and Josh on the dance floor, while on the other end of the spectrum we sang Sleep with the lights off. There was also a song, I forget which, where someone thought it’d be a good idea to link elbows, but this made the circle a lot smaller and things happened and we ended up almost sacrificing Claire. Sorry Claire.
The music we make is fantastic. I’ve always loved a capella. I ran the all-male a capella group “Testostertones” last year at my high school which was much smaller, definitely no classical music like we do here, and featured songs such as “My Enormous Penis” by Davinci’s Notebook. But despite the noticeable lack of that song, the repertoire of Crepusculum is never boring and I can’t wait to keep singing more songs with them.
Gregory OUT! Peace.
Saturday, November 5th was Crepusculum’s fourth Marriott performance of the fall semester. This was without a doubt our strongest performance so far this year. There were several moments throughout our repertoire that I felt genuinely connected to the music. We’ve gradually been adding new pieces to each performance; tonight, we included “Yver, vous n'estes qu'un villain” by Claude Debussy in our program. I feel that our concert repertoire has reached the perfect length - we perform for about an hour, and the differing styles and tempos of the pieces keep the audience interested and engaged. Crepusculum has also begun memorizing several of our pieces, which really helps us to get into the music instead of getting “stuck in the score”. Being able to really feel the emotions that the composers wrote in their music is what the members of our group love - those are the moments that remind us why we love what we do! The audience was definitely enjoying our performance, which is always lovely to see. I saw many people with their eyes closed and smiles on their faces, which really gives me joy. That’s what music is all about - to make others feel something.
Personally, I was very happy with my performance. Before joining Crepusculum, I sang alto for five years, in several classical and jazz choirs. When I auditioned for Crepusculum in my second semester at Berklee, I was placed as a Soprano 1. If only I had known how much I love to sing soprano! I can’t believe the improvement that I’ve had in my voice in my past two semesters in Crepusculum. I can’t wait to see what else the group does for me!
We have one more Marriott this semester, which is next Saturday, November 12th. We also recently busked on Newbury Street, which we usually do once or twice a semester. We’re hoping to go Christmas caroling very soon! Also in December, we will be having a performance in the Loft at Berklee. It’s always fun to be able to perform for our peers at school!
It’s always wonderful to hear all of our hard work pay off, and we are looking forward to finishing our semester strong!
Saturday, October 22nd, marked the day of Crepusculum’s third Marriott performance for this semester, and it’s no question that our concerts keep getting better and better. Since we’re a couple months into the year, us singers are getting more and more in touch with our music. Instead of just knowing pitches, and the words of the pieces, we are truly starting to connect the lyrics as we share them with the audience. Our pieces range from happy Christmas carols, to speaking about the losing loved ones, to songs with more anger and push to them (such as Elijah Rock), and we are definitely capturing those feelings.
Personally for me, I had one of my best concert experiences ever! This is my first semester at Berklee and so that Saturday was my third concert with Crep ever, and so seeing how well we mesh with each other and our music is so special. I especially love singing our first piece on the balcony. It’s always our first statement we make in our performance, and where we set our balance and unity as a group for the rest of the night. What made Saturday even more special was that my family came up from New Jersey to visit me, and they LOVED watching Crep perform. My parents cried during our women’s piece (which was the first time we performed it this season!) and “Soneto,” our Spanish ballad! They only had positive things to say about us and they loved the “magical” atmosphere of the Marriott!
After our success at the Marriott, we celebrated the next day with pumpkin carving! Some of us Creppies got together, picked up a few pumpkins, and carved away, also getting into the Halloween spirit with “Nightmare Before Christmas.” It was a great way for us to bond, especially for us newbies who are still getting into the swing of the things! I couldn’t be more grateful to have such a wonderful group of people and music around me. We are so excited to keep improving our performances and to keep shaping our sound as a group!
I’m about to graduate this coming spring, so I’ve been reflecting a lot on my time at Berklee lately. I have been in Crepusculum Choir since my first year at Berklee, and it has been one of the most important parts of my entire college experience. Choir has been a big part of my life from elementary school to the present. Berklee is more well-known for jazz and contemporary music than classical music, so one of the coolest things about Crepusculum for us is that it gives us the opportunity to keep being “choir kids” and continue singing choral music. For me, it also means the chance to sing in a choir that has a very professional sound – something I’ve wanted to experience for years.
When I was in high school, my choir was something that anyone could join, and most people just did it to get their arts credits. However, there was always a core group of us who actually wanted to be there, and wanted to put in the effort to sound the best we could for our performances. Unfortunately, we were always heavily outnumbered by everyone else that didn’t want to be there and put in minimal effort, and it was always disappointing. Luckily, I had some extraordinary choral experiences outside my school, thanks to an incredible all-girls choir and a few performances in a large choir directed by the one and only Eric Whitacre. Those experiences showed me just how amazing singing in a choir could be, and I wanted to find that again in college.
There’s something magical about, first, singing with other people who really want to be there and love the music, but also the deep connection we have as a group when we sing a piece – breathing together, creating beautiful sounds and music together – there’s really nothing like it. We sang Whitacre’s “Alleluia” in my first year, and when I heard the whole choir sing it together for the first time in rehearsal, I knew that I had finally heard the sound I’d been waiting for. When we performed at my first Marriott concert, I knew that I had finally found the kind of choir that I’d been hoping for, because I felt that indescribable magic feeling.
Obviously, it hasn’t all been perfect over the years. I experienced the complexities of several leadership changes, and we’ve had our occasional tough moments, but I wouldn’t trade my experience in this group for anything. I know it’s pretty early to get sappy about this kind of thing since I’m not graduating for 7 more months, but reflecting has made me think about this a lot. I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to be in a choir once I leave college, so I’m trying to live in the moment for our rehearsals and performances as much as possible. This group has been and will always be so special to me, and I will treasure this magic feeling forever.
On Saturday October 1st, Crepusculum had our first concert of the season at the Boston Marriott. The event took place in a round, high ceilinged atrium that seated about a hundred people. To our delight, the chairs were filled. The concert was well-attended and an absolute success. We performed a variety of repertoire, including but not limited to a Russian religious standard, a classic Latin madrigal, a German Christmas carol, a Spanish sonnet arranged into a beautiful ballad, and an upbeat Southern spiritual. All of our pieces were very well received. Several audience members took our business card at the end of the night, not to mention that we raised a whopping one hundred eighty three dollars in tips! We were so grateful for and flattered by this gesture, especially considering it was our first concert of the semester. The cherry on top of a wonderful evening was an unexpected guest: Yumiko Matsuoka, Crep’s faculty advisor, came to the concert and reportedly she was quite pleased with what she heard. Overall, it was a smashing season debut!
Needless to say, the concert wasn’t perfect – it was only our first time performing this repertoire. In our Sunday night rehearsal the next day, we discussed what went well and what didn’t go as well, and we know what we need to improve and perfect going forward. I feel confident that we’ve got a pretty excellent semester of music making ahead of us. Personally, Saturday was my first concert with Crepusculum, since I just joined this semester. Choir was my LIFE in high school, and I missed it terribly this past year, so Saturday was especially exciting for me. It’s easy to forget just how magical it feels to sing in a choir. I can’t wait to keep experiencing the magic at our next several Marriott performances, and at our final, more climactic concert in the Loft on Friday, December 9th. See you there!
On Thursday, September 15th at 2:00 PM, all of the little inner-choir-nerds came seeping out of the crowd of students who had begun lining up outside of the Berk Recital Hall an hour before. A tall, distinguished man with flowing golden hair cut through the mob, and a collective shriek of excitement rolled along within the crowd like a wave, making its way from the back to the front of the line, and then exhaling a swooning sigh of disbelief when he entered the hall.
Who was this rock star?
Eric Whitacre, of course.
As members of the only classical choir here at Berklee, of course Creppies took over almost the entire first two rows, shaking with excitement. It was known, with no communication whatsoever needed, that each of us had a special connection to this composer that completely revolutionized the face of modern choral music. As he spoke of his pieces—Lux Aurumque, Alleluia, When David Heard, A Boy and a Girl, October, Cloudburst—little cheers and breaths of excitement were heard in the audience (mostly from us). When he mentioned some of pieces that Crepusculum has performed in the past—Water Night, Enjoy the Silence—fond looks of reminiscence were shared between members. We listened to him talk about his compositional process, conducting experience, education, setbacks, family, and general advice to us, a room full of students (and fans) entering the very same world that he has been so successful in. It was a true learning experience.
However, the best part came in the Q&A section at the end. Students got the chance to ask Whitacre their own questions. A few of our very own members got the chance to have a conversation with him during this section! But the real surprise came when one of our bravest members, Jarred Hahn, popped out from the very back row with a simple request: “Eric, its always been a dream of mine to be conducted by you in a performance of ‘Sleep.’ Do you think… maybe at the end… we could make that happen? Can we sing for you?”
In that moment, everyone drew a breath, eagerly waiting for a response to a question that suddenly made “The Dream” sound realistic. Sure enough, ten minutes later, a copy of Whitacre’s most renowned choral piece was projected on a screen, and the audience was being conducted by the composer himself. Needless to say, it was a balanced mix of singing and sing-crying. It was truly a powerful experience, because as great as it is to listen to one of the greats talk about music, the purest connection between two musicians will always be music. We got to experience an unparalleled connection that day, and I’m certain it will not be quickly forgotten by anyone who was a part of it.