In Preparation for Standout Year, Jesuit Chamber Choir Takes the Beach


Members of 2021-22 Chamber Choir on the beach retreat, courtesy of Ms. Kristen Caldwell

The weekend of September 24-26, members of Jesuit’s Chamber Choir went on a retreat to Rockaway Beach. An annual choir tradition, both students and faculty were looking forward to the retreat and the opportunities it would provide.

Choir director and music teacher Kristen Caldwell started the retreat tradition upon her arrival at Jesuit in 2018, and was excited to continue it after a year away.

“I was a public school choir teacher for many years and we always did a retreat,” Caldwell said. “At public schools they don’t have a retreat culture like Jesuit does, so when I came to Jesuit I was like, of course we’re gonna do a choir retreat, this is what we do.”

The retreat provided an opportunity to focus more intensely on concert material, and as was the case for senior Denyse Gallardo, allowed for students to connect more deeply with each other. 

“Going on the beach retreat set the tone for the choir season,” Gallardo said. “I had so much fun, and I talked to people in choir who I never thought I would talk to.”

Entering her third year in Chamber choir, Gallardo has spent much of her Jesuit years singing in the choir. Now, as a senior, she is Jesuit Choir’s first ever President.

“This year, the upperclassmen in Chamber were given the opportunity to take up positions of leadership, which is new for Jesuit choir,” Gallardo said. “As President, I basically get to be Ms. Caldwell when Ms. Caldwell isn’t there.”

Even outside of the retreat and new council, Jesuit Chamber Choir is creating new musical experiences. Although only in his first year with Choir, senior Theron Abel is very excited to share what choir has put together with the rest of the school.

“Hearing the harmonies, [everyone’s] voices coming together, I feel like I’m constantly having moments of transcendence in class,” Abel said. “We definitely have some incredible talent this year and I think we’re going to produce something very special.”

For anyone looking to witness the choir in action, Ms. Caldwell suggests attending a concert.

“As an audience member I think you get a lot out of coming to see the show and coming to see your friends perform,” Caldwell said. “You don’t have to come to [a choir concert] with any background knowledge. It really is a place to plug in with your heart and your live music and we will go from there.”

Jesuit’s first choir concert is on October 21st at 7pm.