Our 7th Annual Spring Concert is officially TOMORROW NIGHT! Which means it’s time for Part III of III of our “Goodbye Seniors” interviews! Part III features our wonderful Music Director/Co-President, Marie Pellissier! Marie never fails to provide us with cow jokes, faulty arguments claiming that deep dish pizza is somehow better than New York pizza, and the delicious products of her amazing baking skills! So read below to check out the final installment of this year’s “Goodbye Seniors” interviews!
Fun Facts About Marie:
Voice Part: Alto/aspiring Tenor
Major: History, BA
Favorite Mads Piece: “When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy” by Matthew Harris
Other Campus Engagements: editor for Elements, Chorale, Presidential Scholar
Favorite Farm Animal: Cow (what a surprise…)
Dream Destination: a cabin in the woods in Colorado in the summer or London at any time of the year
Pamela Hickey: What made you decide to join Mads?
Marie Pellissier: Well I did madrigals in high school, and I really really loved madrigals in high school, so I was really excited to find out BC had a madrigals group. But I thought as a freshman that maybe should try something else for a little while that wasn’t quite so- as my father put it- “dorky,” so I was a one-time member of the Screaming Eagles Marching Band, which I really didn’t enjoy and quit and joined Mads instead because I was really looking for a group of people that I felt comfortable around and that I could sing with that wasn’t a huge group like Chorale.
PH: So did you join Chorale at the beginning of your freshman year?
MP: Yeah I joined chorale right away freshman year and I was doing Chorale and the marching band my first semester my freshman year, and second semester I quit marching band and was doing Mads and Chorale at the same time. Chorale was fun but it was just so big that it felt really hard to make friends in Chorale.
PH: Yeah it’s easy to get lost in chorale.
MP: Yeah, I just had a hard time making friends right off the bat in Chorale and so I wanted something smaller and I knew other acappella groups were not for me because the idea of singing “do” and “da” over and over is better for warm-ups than for performance, in my opinion. Also I just don’t have the type of voice that can sing pop songs really well so other acappella groups would not be for me.
PH: Yeah the people in the other acappella groups all have fantastic voices, but most of them wouldn’t sound good singing our type of music, just like we don’t sound good singing theirs. I feel like it goes both ways.
MP: Yeah people in our group are better suited for our kind of music and the people in theirs are better suited for their type of music. I just don’t have the strong belt-y kind of voice, that’s just not where my strength is.
PH: So you think that you like choral settings of music as opposed to pop/contemporary music?
MP: Oh definitely.
PH: Any particular reason why or is there anything special you hear in choral music?
MP: I think there’s just something in the collaborative nature of choral music as opposed to pop music that I just find really wonderful because in a choral piece everyone has their own part with their own independent line but no one line sounds nearly as good by itself as it does with all the others. So you need the group to make the piece sound good. Like, you can sing a pop song by yourself and make it sound good, but you can’t sing “A Boy and a Girl” or “Sicut Cervus” or really any choral piece by yourself. Every part matters and every part matters just as much as every other part, so as much as we like to joke about sopranos being divas, you can’t get rid of the sopranos. But conversely the sopranos would sound weird without the basses and the altos and tenors.
PH: Yeah I feel like it’d be rather one-dimensional.
MP: Right, so that’s sort of always drawn me to choral music ever since middle school and I just love being part of a group making music and I love being with other people making music. The whole is always bigger than the sum of its parts with choral music and the group always ends up creating something so much more than what each individual puts in. And the other thing is that many high school and college students are so focused on what will make them successful in the future and it’s nice to do something with other people that isn’t just a resume builder and requires true collaboration. You join a group like this not because you’re trying to build your resume, but because you just want to have that collective experience of making beautiful music and beautiful art. For me, choral performing has been an opportunity to be a part of a group where I just have to worry about being the best I can be for the sake of the group without feeling the pressure to try to make myself stand out or recognized individually.
PH: I like that. So you said that “When That” is your favorite piece that you’ve performed in Mads- is there any particular reason why?
MP: So I’ve sung “When That” literally the first 3 years I was in Mads because my freshman year, Jon conducted “When That,” “A Lover and His Lass,” and “This Marriage,” then we sang it for music outreach at a middle school my sophomore year, and then we recorded it my junior year. It’s just been a part of almost every year I’ve been in Madrigals and is such a beautiful piece. I would’ve brought it back this year but we didn’t have 4 voices on each part and I think people probably would have killed me.
PH: I wouldn’t have killed you! I would sing a whole concert of just “When That” on repeat.
MP: I would sing a concert of “When That,” “Sicut Cervus,” and “When Daffodils Begin to Peer” on repeat. I really like “Daffodils.” I really like all the Matthew Harris pieces and I didn’t even know they existed before I joined Mads! But yeah, “When That” is just associated with so many good memories for me that it can’t help but be my favorite.
PH: On a related note, do you have a favorite Mads memory?
MP: Anthony and his dragon. At the Christmas party my sophomore year, we did a secret santa- actually that whole party was just such a great party- and I think we were in Michael Lim’s mod. So we were doing a secret santa and everyone just gave the best gifts. Like that was the night that I had gotten the Shakespeare mug and the finger puppets and Jon got a tambourine.
PH: I gave him that tambourine! I remember being a freshman who barely knew anyone and he was the only one who didn’t have a Facebook to suggest things he’d like and I had no idea what to get him. Then he conveniently broke his tambourine so I got him a new tambourine. And Anthony got me all those Hogwarts prefect badges, which was wonderful! I still have them in my room.
MP: Right, and like Anthony had gone on and on about this stuffed green dragon that was really special to him and his girlfriend that was destroyed by an animal of some sort- so Anthony’s first green dragon was the victim of some terrible catastrophe and he said that the perfect secret santa gift would be a stuffed green dragon. (**SOCIAL COORDINATOR’S NOTE: his exact words were “you will be my new favorite person in the world ahead of Jay Z and my girlfriend”**) Lo and behold, he opens his secret santa present because Gloria had searched far and wide for a green dragon for Anthony. And everyone was just so happy that Anthony was so happy and then we played some pretty epic Cards Against Humanity afterwards and it was just a really great party. So that’s one of my favorite memories.
Also, I really liked the second recording session we did last year in Gasson 100 because of all these random circumstances that made it such a pain, like the guitar player and there was a 5k happening that morning but we somehow managed to make it work despite all these things that could have thrown the entire day off and we made a really great CD. I especially remember recording “When That”… everything just clicked and it was great… so that’s another really great Madrigals memory.
PH: What makes Mads special/worth your time?
MP: The people in it. I really have found an amazing group of friends in Mads. And I think that what makes our group really special is- well, who else has guts to sing renaissance music in costume?!- but also that we all get along so well because everyone puts in effort to get to know each other and hang out outside of rehearsal. We’re all friends without drama and knowing each other so well we work together really well in rehearsal. The other thing is that, especially when I was an underclassmen, the amount of encouragement and support and unconditional friendship I got from the upperclassmen just by them being there for me and not judging me and never belittling my problems, especially during my second semester freshman year when I was going through a rough time, really meant a lot to me. So Mads is worth my time now because I really love everyone in it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
PH: So now that you’re the upperclassmen, what advice do you have for underclassmen and future members?
MP: Don’t be afraid to be yourself around the people in the group and don’t be afraid to let the people in the group see when you’re vulnerable because they will come to your rescue when you need it. And to everyone else in the group- make sure the group continues to be the group that will come to the rescue of the vulnerable underclassmen- or upperclassmen- should they find the bravery to show their vulnerability.
Oh also- join the group and stay in the group! :D
PH: So where do you hope the group will go, after you graduate?
MP: I’d like to see the group continue grow a bit more and see its membership get back up to 6-8 guys rather than 5. 8 would be ideal. And I hope that you guys keep expanding in performance opportunities and the things you’re willing to do and just keep growing your presence on campus because we have so much to offer the BC community. And since a lot of people don’t know we exist, what we have to offer doesn’t get out there as much as it should or could. I know it’s going to be awesome and that next year’s e-board is going to be awesome!
PH: I certainly hope so! So do you think you’ll continue madrigals, or at least singing, after graduation?
MP: I definitely want to continue singing, I don’t know about madrigals specifically though because I think in the real world it’s hard to find groups like ours. I would like to continue singing on a small scale, and next year will probably be a church choir but I’d like to eventually find a small chamber group to sing with. I think I’d be a little bit adrift without singing.
PH: What are your post-graduation plans?
MP: I am going to be working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nashville, Tennessee working at Catholic Charities of Tennessee as a refugee employment specialist helping recent refugees find jobs. And the plan after that is to probably go to grad school for public history or museum studies and then eventually one day RUN THE SMITHSONIAN MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Basically. Though I suspect I won’t get very far in the professional world if I end all my sentences with “MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA.” Maybe I should try that in rehearsal… “Time to warm up guys MWHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!”
And that’s the Empress for you ;D We’re all going to miss you so much Marie and we really appreciate all the tremendous and incredible work you’ve put into this group throughout your 4 years here, and especially this year as our Music Director! We love you!!