At the start of each school year, the Bowdoin Chorus selects an ethnic theme to explore for the duration of the semester and present during its end-of-year concert. This semester, the concert, which is co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and the Department of Music, will be performing “Nuestra Navidad” as a tribute to Latin American culture by showcasing songs only in Spanish. The show will debut as a preview on October 31 for Family Weekend. The final performances will take place on November 20 and 21. 

The concert will be led by Director of the Bowdoin Chorus Anthony Antolini ’63. Antolini has previously directed the chorus in other ethnically-themed concerts such as “French-Canadian Christmas” and “Black Nativity Christmas.” This semester, however, will be Antolini’s first time teaching songs in Spanish. The chorus has featured songs in multiple languages in the past, including Russian, French and German. Antolini specializes in Russian and believes that Spanish may be his most difficult linguistic endeavor thus far. 

“Believe it or not, singing in Spanish is not that easy because the different countries have different dialects of Spanish,” said Antolini. 

Chorus member Katie Ippolito ’19 explained that when learning songs in a different language, the singing becomes less about the song meaning and more about the sounds of each individual word. 

“All of these different regions have different forms of Spanish,” said Ippolito, echoing Antolini. To stay true to the intentions of the original song, the chorus is learning all the different variations on how to say each word. 

The songs the chorus will perform are influenced by a variety of Latin American countries and styles, including Argentinian, Puerto Rican and Afro-Colombian. The chorus has reached out to several resources, including native speakers, to capture the correct pronunciations of complicated Spanish words. 

Antolini also hired experienced musicians who specialize in Latin American compositions to add to the performance’s authenticity. In addition to its usual keyboard accompaniment, the chorus will perform with a guitarist, a bassist and two professional flute players, all of whom have experience with Spanish music and culture.

“Learning to sing really excellent music in Spanish is a wonderful way to learn [the Spanish] culture,” Antolini added.

The concert will dually shine a light on the Hispanic Studies section of the Department of Romance Language and give students the opportunity to experience authentic Latin American music. 

Associate Professor of Romance Languages Enrique Yepes, was happy to hear about the chorus’s production and encouraged his students to participate. 

“We were very excited and sent an email to all students in Spanish classes about this opportunity, hoping they will participate and attend,” said Yepes. “It’s always great to have some visibility for the Spanish language beyond the academics or the classes.”

Antolini was thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive support from the department. 
“That’s what Bowdoin is about,” Antolini said, “Different departments should work together. Collaboration is a great idea.”