Spotlight shines bright again

Senior Marcie Sawyers revives female pop group as part of senior project


Shae Daugherty

Senior Marcie Sawyers (center) sings with juniors Stephen Godfrey (left) and Claire McLaren (right) during a concert.

The auditorium rings with a collection of female voices. The voices flow through the crowd, filling the room with the melodies of the American folk song “Shenandoah.” On the stage stands an all-female group with senior Marcie Sawyers at its helm.

These voices belong to none other than Spotlight, the female choir pop group last included in the choir schedule in 2014. This year Sawyers decided to resurrect and direct the group for her senior project.

“When we added our varsity treble choir, now called Muses, to the schedule in 2015, it felt redundant to continue Spotlight,” choir director Cathy Koziatek said. “Muses is small, they sing a combination of pop and classical repertoire, and I didn’t want Spotlight to take away from what the singers were already doing in Muses.”

When Sawyers initially approached Koziatek with the idea of reviving Spotlight, Koziatek thought it was an “incredible idea.”

“Now that Muses has grown, and the focus is more on traditional choral repertoire in that class, it is the perfect time to bring back Spotlight,” Koziatek said. “Marcie, with her drive, musical talent, and organizational ability, is the perfect person to make it all happen.”

Although Sawyers intends to maintain most of the original aspects of Spotlight, the size of the group has grown from 16 to 22 people. Another change is that Spotlight will be incorporating more genres of music into their shows. 

“My freshman year, [Spotlight] was mainly pop songs and bops,” Sawyers said. “Now we’re doing whatever song fits the concert that we’re doing. For example, the first [choir] concert is called War and Peace, so we did a song that’s a bit more choral. But then Coffee House is more of a chill environment, so we’ll probably do a pop song for that.”

Koziatek and associate choir director Kelly D’Souza are serving as mentors for Sawyers’s project.

“We are there to assist her in teaching, so we’ll play piano, offer musical guidance as needed, and fix individual things,” D’Souza said. “But really [Marcie’s] in charge, and she tells us what she wants us to do.”

D’Souza is especially excited to see the girls of Spotlight improve throughout the year.

“I’m excited for them to grow from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and see how much [Spotlight] impacts their confidence as individual singers,” D’Souza said. “I’m excited to see their joy out of being in a small intimate group where they get a little bit more individualized attention.”

Spotlight member junior Faith Isakson shares the same level of enthusiasm.

“I am [most] looking forward to performing at pep rallies, in the commons and going on tour with a capella,” Isakson said. “It’ll just be so fun to have that pop group experience with a bunch of girls and really get to know them all better.”

D’Souza said directing Spotlight will help Sawyers in the future as she is looking toward the possibility of pursuing a career in choral or music education.

“If she wants to be a choir teacher I think this is teaching her all the basic fundamentals for how to run a choir,” D’Souza said. “She creates a lesson plan for every week. She has her warm-ups, and then she takes [the group] through specific things in the music she wants them to work on.”

Sawyers plans on using the opportunity to direct Spotlight as a learning experience.

“I’m trying to be educated in every way to see what I like best out of teaching or acting in theatre or teaching or singing in choir,” Sawyers said. “I’m trying to figure out what my niche is.”