The “Long Road” from Bar Mitzvahs to PHS Choir: Zach Schapire ’17

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photo by Aaron Wu

Zack Schapire ’17 has been singing for as long as he can remember. Having joined choir in fourth grade, Schapire is a member of PHS Choir, PHS Chamber Choir, and a leader of Around Eight, PHS’s only co-ed a cappella group. Schapire hopes to continue choir at university next year.

Going back to the beginning of your interest in singing, who have been your biggest influences?

Certainly my voice teacher, Dr. Timothy Urban. He has the same voice part as me, bass-baritone, and influenced me in his vocal style. Also, in terms of composers, Eric Whitacre and Ēriks Ešenvalds, a Latvian composer, both really gave me inspiration. I love the style of their music and am deeply influenced by their recordings.

Can you first describe to me what groups you’re a part of and what you do with choir at PHS?

So, I’m part of three different groups at this school [each of which are different in key ways]. We sing pop songs and all our members are part of PHS Choir, which is another group I’m part of, which is a 90 member choir where we perform all sorts of repertoire… it’s mostly classical, but some modern, some romantic, some baroque. It’s very wide-ranging. And the third group is PHS Chamber Choir which is a smaller group within PHS Choir. [PHS Chamber Choir requires] a separate audition after you’re in PHS Choir at the beginning of the year. There we do more advanced music than the regular choir, and we also have separate concerts. So, for example, last year we did a concert with a baroque ensemble where we performed some Henry Purcell.

How did you get started with singing?

So I’ve been singing… pretty much for my entire life. I started choir when I was in fourth grade at Riverside, and I really started to get into singing when I was prepping for my Bar Mitzvah in seventh grade. I started voice lessons immediately after my Bar Mitzvah and I’ve been going with the same teacher since then.

Would you describe for me your best memory in PHS Choir?

So that would definitely go to the Winter Concert my sophomore year. It was the first Winter Concert I was in PHS Choir for, and best memory would go to the balcony piece—the piece where the lights in the chapel are all out and it’s entirely black. We held these fake candles and the song we did is called “Long Road,” by Ēriks Ešenvalds. [This particular song we did for the balcony piece] was gorgeous beyond words. It was also my first time singing in the balcony as a PHS choir member, so the combination of beauty and novelty really made the experience memorable.

 

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