From Classroom to Stardom

The story behind the musical group whose name is nearly impossible to pronounce.

Sydney Jones, Staff

Singing, dancing, and everything in between, Messa Voce (met-sä-ˈvō-chā) has been a musical group in the school for decades.


“It started in about ‘79, Mr. Eshleman started it, and it was called ‘Show Choir,’” Mr. Eric Poe (Faculty) said.


The organization practices countless hours throughout the week to ensure their music and choreography are to the best of their ability.


“We have them [practices] second period, and also in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 am,” Allison Collings (11) said.


They perform a few concerts every year, some at the school, during Arts in Action, and their most recent concert held at the Mercersburg Academy.


“They [the Academy] are doing a couple pieces, three or four, we’re doing four pieces, and we’re going to do three pieces together,” Poe said.


It has been a while since the two groups have come together for a concert.


“Before I got hired, Mr. Eshelman did a joint performance with the Mercersburg Academy,” Poe stated.


Poe explained that he had planned to do another performance with the Academy when he started directing Messa Voce, but with the group’s busy schedule, it was put on the backburner until the beginning of this school year.


“I was contacted by Jim Brinson, who is the organist over there,” Poe said. “He also plays the organ for baccalaureate, and in doing that has had a chance to hear Messa Voce the last few years.”


After Brinson heard the group perform, he decided to reach out to Poe.


“So he contacted me and was like, ‘Hey what do you think about doing a joint concert?’” said Poe. “‘I’ve heard your select group come and I think they’re excellent. It’d be really good for our students to sing with other students and kind of branch out, support things in the community, etc.’”


Both singing groups have practiced their songs and will put them together March 23.


“I’m really looking forward to it because it’s in the chapel, which has fantastic acoustics,” Poe said. “Mr. Brinson is going to play the piano for one of the joint pieces, and he’s a very fine accompanist.”


There are countless songs they perform each year, each chosen by Poe.


“They’re all my favorites, that’s why I picked them,” Poe said.


The songs may be a part of the show, but to those involved Messa Voce is more than just the music.


“Messa Voce kind of is my life,” Chelsea Wareham (11) said. “I’ve always wanted to join it since I was a little kid in elementary school, and when I finally came to high school, it gave me a chance to make friends with people that are just like me, and that’s kind of awesome.“