Rediscovering Disney: Exploring Ridge Concert Choir’s Disney Showcase


The March Show is an annual, student-led concert performance, solely for the upperclassmen treble voices and all bass voices in the Ridge Choral Program, AKA the Ridge Concert Choir. From the magical stage sets to the whimsical song choices, Ridge Concert Choir led the planning of their enchanting show every sparkling step of the way!
This year, the singers were also given the opportunity to choose the show’s theme, breaking out of the Decades mold, which had been the theme of the show for years before. As senior Nathan Schwed ‘22 puts it, “having the opportunity to change the theme from Decades… made the process less monotonous and more adventurous” for the singers. This year, the show took on a more magical, timeless theme: Disney.

This performance was no ordinary one, as the singers not only had a musical voice in the performance, but an influential and democratic voice in every decision made along the way. The theme of the performance, the group pieces, the decorations — everything was voted on and created by the students in the ensemble. As Isabel Batista ‘23 remarks, no matter their skillset or grade, “all ideas [were] accepted and considered” by the choir, allowing every singer to contribute to the Disney magic. And freshman Mannan Pandey ‘25—for whom this March Show was the first—reflects that the student-led factor of this performance “highlighted the community of concert choir, since [every singer] could really embrace [themself] via the music selected”.

Another defining facet of this performance was the inclusion of small group and solo acts on stage, as well as the student MC appearances through the night. Every Concert Choir member had the opportunity to audition for as a small group or solo act, performing a song from a Disney movie or show, or to become an MC, who would guide the audience through every performance on stage. As Bryle Laput ’24 puts it, being given the opportunity to perform individual and small ensemble pieces allowed the audience to “see how every person interprets Disney in their own way.” Disney is an age-old and ever changing genre, with Disney princesses transforming from fun Barbie Dolls to powerful role models before our eyes and the hidden themes in the most humorous movies coming to light as we mature.

Before being selected as a featured MC or a solo/ small ensemble performance, all acts went through an audition process in the PAC. The performers got up on the stage, in front of the whole choir, and performed what they had prepared for the audition. Then, the choir individually provided feedback to advance the performers’ performances. (In the end, the selected student MCs for this performance were Varsha Bhargava ’23 and Max Rodriguez ’22. Check out the Showcase Program — linked at the end of this article — for all of the selected singing acts!) For many, this was a nerve-wracking experience — getting up in front of a large audience for the first time and showcasing their singing voices — but as Morgan Zuanic ‘22 recalls, she “knew [she] was singing with all of [her] friends who would have [her] back”. Ah, the inherent magic of the choir family.

The first all-ensemble medley, “Disney Dazzle”, basically pieced together a soundtrack to the choir’s childhood, including pieces from many nostalgia-inducing Disney favorites. Ridge Concert Choir invited the audience to be their guests as they traveled from the dining rooms of France, to the windswept desert, and finally to the depths of the ocean. This medley included “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, “Arabian Nights” from Aladdin, and “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. Zia Sarkis ’22 and Emily Pradhan ’22 were given the opportunity to choreograph two of the numbers: “Be Our Guest” and “Under the Sea”. They took unique creative liberties and artistic choices in crafting a coordinated choreographed routine for the songs, which proved to be rewarding, but tricky. Pradhan ’22 attests that “it [was] hard to keep everyone on quiet and on task, but it [was] a rewarding and great feeling to see everyone loving the choreography and really getting it down”. Andrew Chiafullo ’22 and Harry Hess ’22 choreographed the third piece, “Arabian Nights”, taking inspiration from the Broadway musical and creating a charming dance routine, with treble singers snaking between the bass voices, and partner moves covering the stage.

Then, from the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “The Bells of Notre Dame” spun a cheerful tune as the robed singers whisked through the streets of Paris, and it wasn’t hard to imagine harmonious bells ringing idly through the town as they sang. But then, the choir’s tune turned dramatic and haunting, accompanied by swift and ominous movements by the singers, as the audience discovered the truth behind the remarkable bells and which Disney villain puppeteered their ringer from the start. Finally, their song asked “who is the monster and who is the man”? After presenting their story, the choir left that up to the audience…

The singers started Act II of the performance with a heartfelt tribute to the 25 seniors in Concert Choir, fulfilling an annual choir tradition: the Senior Dedication. Every year, the singers take the stage to honor the choir members of the graduating class with songs with fervent themes of community and love. This year, the Senior Dedication took on the song “Remember Me” from the 2017 movie Coco. With the senior singers huddled in the middle of the stage, clad in their white Class of 2022 shirts, the choir serenaded the seniors with this song that speaks on remembrance and honoring family members who have to leave their loved ones. For senior Emily Pradhan ’22, “[the] song [was] a reminder of all of the memories of wonderful moments [she] had throughout [her] high school years.”

Finally, since this was their last March Show, the end of an era, Varsha Bhargava ‘23 asked seniors: What did this show mean to you?

Riya Bhalla ’22: “The March Show pushed me out of my comfort zone, and taught me the importance of trusting everyone in choir. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to showcase my individual talents. As a group, we have encouraged and supported one another throughout our 4 years together. Choir has made a lasting impact on my life, and I’m so thankful to have a second family!”
Morgan Zuanic ’22: “I am feeling more and more thankful for the choir community. I am so happy that I have had such a kind and supportive group over the past four years. We all motivate one another and it’s really fantastic!”
Amaan Mahdi ’22: “As a senior, it never hit me that this was my last March Show until now. The freedom and independence in performing in the only student-run Concert Choir concert is one of the many reasons why I love this show. It brings out the hidden talents in our peers that we never get to see, whether it’s singing, dancing, etc. Performing in this show was so much fun and has made me so thankful for what this choir has given me over the last three and a half years.”
Emily Pradhan ’22: “I am definitely feeling very sad about this being my last March Show. Its sad to think that this is the last one but I feel that this [made] us all want to make it the best one yet.”
Alexis Georgiades ’22: “This was my first time doing something like this without COVID and it was really amazing to see everyone be supportive and help each other to create an amazing show.”
Nathan Schwed ’22: “Seeing the March Show able to happen again as a live performance for the first time since my freshman year made me overjoyed and gave me great hope for the future of the choral program. While I am sad to be leaving having lost 2 ‘normal’ years due to Covid, I am lucky for the unparalleled family the Ridge Choral Program provides, grateful for each of its members, and excited to see it continue to thrive in the years to come.”
And finally, the singers ended the concert with a spectacular and impactful finish. From the movie Newsies, “Seize the Day” is an inspirational and upbeat tune that makes listeners want to dance. But not just the listeners, the singers, too! Morgan Beatty ‘22 and Morgan Connell ‘22 had the opportunity to choreograph and teach an extensive dance routine for this piece, including treble and bass section divides, featured dancers, and a striking group finish. The piece provided an end fitting for the amount of resilience and community put forth by the choir in every meeting, planning session, and rehearsal that took place before the show, as well as each note and step performed on stage.

Through thick and thin, through every measure and dance number, the Concert Choir proves time and time again that they can show their sense of community and creativity through their work. And as the seniors pursue their diverging paths from Ridge, the March Show will be their reminder that no matter where they may be, they can forever return to the magical friendships forged within the Ridge Choral Program.

Showcase Program: