100 years of tradition in Choir-Opera

Co-Op celebrates its anniversary with elaborate production


New Trier Fine Arts Association

The 2018 Choir Opera musical, “Once Upon a Time,” pictured above

Last week, New Trier’s Choir-Opera performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice marked 100 years of Co-Op and the 50th year of Rice’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Music and theatre department Chair David Ladd explained that Choir-Opera, commonly known as Co-op, is a class made up of upperclassmen.

“Co-op is a class that juniors and seniors audition to be in. It’s made up of about 70 students,” said Ladd.

In Co-op, students study American musical theatre and also perform the junior-senior musical. “[Those] in co-op make up all of the leads, dancers, and ensemble,” stated Ladd.

According to junior Daniel Friedland, “The audition process for choir opera is unique compared to all other play and musical auditions at New Trier, because co-op is also a class taken during the school day.”

“It primarily focuses on songs from musicals from the Golden Age to present, and when it’s time, we begin rehearsing for the musical,” explained Friedland

“To be in the musical, you must also separately audition [as a member of the class],” stated senior Cammi Avery.

To celebrate 100 years of co-op, senior Emma Parks highlighted that the performance was a way to celebrate the program’s anniversary.

“Being it was the 100th anniversary, the whole production of Jesus Christ Superstar was one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done at New Trier. We had an eighty piece orchestra each night and a huge cast,” Parks said.

“I believe that being in this elaborate show for Choir Opera’s 100th anniversary is a huge honor and a privilege, and I’ve savored every moment of it with my amazing cast of juniors and seniors, the spectacular orchestra, the awesome crew, and all other people who helped bring this crazy show to life,” stated Friedland.

While there is an audition process for Co-op, Ladd encourages students who are interested in choir opera to join the class.

“Students who are interested in doing musical theatre should audition and be apart of it,” said Ladd.

“I have been doing musical theatre since I was a toddler. It’s a great opportunity for students with a passion for musical theatre,” added Avery,

“Everyone is so uniquely talented. It makes for a friendly, safe, and inclusive environment.”

The members of co-op all agree that there seems to be a sense of community and tradition among the class. Senior Ben Ancell added the tradition of cast members squeezing hands before each show, which represents the importance of teamwork.

“This tradition’s goal is to focus the energy and emphasize the importance of ensemble work, because if one person doesn’t pass the squeeze, then it doesn’t make it around the circle,” said Ancell.

“When we stand in a circle, we center our energy and become mentally focused while a few seniors give a speech before the show,” said Parks.

[“Another] tradition we do is sign the walls in the Gaffney dressing rooms with all of the shows we’ve participated in,” stated senior Charlotte Jaffe.

Ladd encourages community members to support the program by coming to see co-op’s performances and reviews, which Ladd described to be music from a particular Broadway era.

“Keep supporting the show. Co-op also does reviews, which people can come see on May 19.”