‘Existing is not enough:’ Winter Choral Concert celebrates the joy of love and live performances

Two years after Washington and Lee’s campus-wide pandemic shutdown, two choir ensembles joined forces for a moving Winter Choral Concert.


The University Singers made a cameo at the March 15th performance at Wilson Hall. Photo by Jess Kishbaugh ‘24.

Emma Malinak

Cantatrici and the Glee Club performed on March 15 to celebrate lifelong love and the beginning of spring under the direction of Lacey Lynch, Shane Lynch and members of the Choral Conducting Mentorship Program (CCMP).

Shane Lynch said these ensembles made the most out of the challenges of the pandemic, but it is thrilling to perform in front of an audience again. 

“At first, just functioning was a win,” Lynch said. “But at some point, functioning is not enough. Existing is not enough.” 

Michael McLaughlin, ’23, CCMP member and student head of the Glee Club, says nothing compares to the power of a live performance.

“Having live concerts back again is really nice,” McLaughlin said. “There’s nothing like an audience clapping for you.”

The concert was split into two parts, with the first half titled “Springtime in Lexington.” Lacey Lynch said this section was designed to offer “the hope of spring” after the “metaphorical winter of the last several years.”

During this part of the performance, several CCMP members conducted the singers and accompaniment. The concert was the climax of the semester for the CCMP students who also helped construct the program, run rehearsals and make practice tracks.  

The second half of the performance was titled “A Lifetime of Love” and featured a continuous run of six songs that captured the power of love in all of its stages. The University Singers, the university’s internationally competitive touring choir, made a cameo during this part of the concert.

 Songs illustrated couples falling in love, celebrating at bachelor and bachelorette parties, enjoying wedding ceremonies, and triumphing through the highs and lows of a life-long relationship.

“Love is love!” said Shane Lynch as he described how these songs were inclusive to the many forms that love can take.

The performance not only included stories of same-sex and interracial couples but also showcased marriage traditions from around the world. The concert featured songs in a total of seven different languages, ranging from Spanish to Korean. 

“It didn’t even matter that I didn’t understand what they were saying,” Alora Ross, ’25, said. “They sang in a way that made you feel the emotions.”

The singers embodied these diverse stories and even performed traditional Bollywood and Lithuanian dances to match the lyrics. 

The narrative was captivating, especially during the last song, “Long Road,” which explores the grief of losing a loved one. 

The singers still promoted hope in this moment of sadness, as Shane and Lacey Lynch walked off stage hand-in-hand, passing on their conducting to the next generation of CCMP members. 

“The range of diverse songs made for a delightful concert that culminated in a moving final performance,” said Tommy Lee ’25.

The concert’s themes reflect in W&L’s music program, which is inclusive to all students who share a passion for music. 

The vast majority of performers in Cantatrici and the Glee Club are non-music majors, and many students valued the diversity of performers involved in the concert.

“What is really fun about choir is that there are so many people from so many different interests who all share an interest in singing,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s fun to have people in the room who are there just because it is the light at the end of their day,” Shane Lynch agreed. 

The music program will continue to shine throughout the rest of the semester. The next choral concert, the University Singers Tour Kick-off Concert, will be held on April 5 to celebrate the start of their 2022 Irish Choir Tour.