Student Musicians Shine in Walker


David Li ’21

Woodwind and brass instrument performers rehearse in preparation for the annual Student Music Showcase (SMS).

Rounds of applause filled Walker Auditorium as student musicians took their final bows. The annual Student Music Showcase (SMS) offered an evening of music last night.

This year, SMS featured a wide range of genres, including pop, hip-hop, R&B, and jazz. Students performed ten songs, such as the R&B hit “Can’t Turn You Loose” by Otis Redding and “25 or 6 to 4,” a song by rock band Chicago. The show has remained themeless, with the goal of catering to every musical style. Desmond Teague ’20, co-head and four-year participant of SMS, said, “At Hotchkiss, you can go to orchestra concerts, jazz concerts, sometimes open mics, but SMS is the one time in a year that we get to hear all the different talents [and genres].”

An important step in the preparation process is score arrangements, which involves examining and transferring individual parts of a song, such as vocals and instrumentals, to a master score. Kelly Zuo ’20 arranged two songs this year: “Surround Me” and “Feeling Good.” According to Zuo, pieces that included multiple harmonies and background instrumentals presented a challenge. The instrumental arrangements of  songs determined the groupings of musicians who were selected.

SMS seeks to create a judgment-free space for student musicians, enabling them to collaborate with each other and fully express themselves. Allison Lin ’22, who played the cello last night, commented, “I decided to do SMS, because I like working with other musicians and vocalists, [as well as] put[ting] together music that I can’t remake by myself.  [The show also] showcases many [individual talents] but in a not-too-overly formal manner.”

Teague looks forward to SMS every year as plaform to interact with musicians on a deeper level. “You get to meet people in a new way, [because] people are different when they do things they love doing,” said Teague. “Being the senior organizing all the younger kids that are just getting into it, [I appreciate] seeing the cycle of life like that.”