Vocal Solo Show Shines in In-Person Return

A Review by Jayan Kandavel ’25 and Jack Ryan ’25 | After livestreaming last year’s solo show, HW singers wow in the audience’s return


Jayan Kandavel

Nate Arnold ’25 sings “Girl from Ipanema” in Portuguese.

As soon as Emma Lutsky ’26 sang her first note, the almost two year long journey of Harvard Westlake (HW) soloists’ return to the theater was complete. Students in three of HW’s Middle School choirs – Wolverine Singers, Vocal Ensemble, and Madrigals – showed their talent during this year’s Middle School Vocal Solo Show.

Taking place in Saperstein Theater on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m., the vocal show showcased an incredible selection of pieces. From the meme inspiring Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up, sung by Jasiri Johnson ’27, Kaison Maruyama ’27, Sage Bonotto ’27, to Billie Elish’s James Bond theme song “No Time to Die” sung by Mia Fershein ’28, the entire performance was captivating. It even included songs created and composed by students, which was a new addition long overdue.

It was eye-opening. Last year, the vocal show did not look like it had before. It was not a live show, had no audience, and singers had three takes to get it right. This year, students performed in front of a live audience and had one shot to get it right. They did not blow it.

The singers found returning to the stage and a live audience to be an experience in itself.

“I really enjoyed the whole process,” Nate Arnold ’25 said. “Though a little nerve-wracking, the actual performance was so fun, a total blast, and made me a little more comfortable on stage! I thought everyone did such an amazing job and am so glad I got the opportunity to participate.”

Other performers also enjoyed the show.

“I was really nervous to perform, especially because I wrote an original song,” Sarah Parmet ’25 said. “I think my performance went well. I had a lot of fun interacting with the audience, as my song is quite expressive. I loved hearing the other performers as well-they are so talented and kind, and it was amazing to be in the same show as them.”

This performance was also notable as it was the first solo show of the new Middle School Choral Director Paul Keilbach following the departure of Jeremy Pease. He made an excellent first performance as director. This show was a blast to watch and the school is craving more in-person shows.