Section: Arts

Chasers give beautiful and moving performance in church

Chasers give beautiful and moving performance in church

COURTESY OF LIV CHEPENIK

On Saturday evening, with the smell of incense hanging in the air and the audience lining the pews of the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Chasers took to the stage for their spring concert. Showing off their talented voices and control of a variety of genres, the Chasers bade farewell to their seniors in a beautiful evening of music.

Because the Knox County Symphony and Community Choir Spring Concert was held in Rosse Hall on the same weekend, the Chasers had to improvise. For Liv Chepenik ’26, the church was the perfect location. “We loved the amazing acoustics, how beautiful the art and architecture was, and we loved being able to rehearse there especially with the availability of the basement where we took our breaks,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Performing there gave us a more homey feeling where being closer to the audience allowed for a more intimate and personal experience.” 

Though some audience members had to crane their necks to see from their spots in the pews, everyone in the church was transfixed from the moment the Chasers walked on stage, dressed in a range of warm spring colors. Isabelle Chritton ’25 opened the concert with a soulful rendition of “The Walk” by Mayer Hawthorne, showing not only impressive vocals but also great comedic timing as they tapped their watch to the lyric “I think your time’s up” and gave a playful shrug to the audience. 

Throughout the concert, the order of the Chasers’ setlist never allowed the atmosphere to get too high or too low. After Chritton energized the audience, Aaron Davidson ’26 brought a calmer presence with an ethereal performance of “Better Than” by Lake Street Dive. The next two performances brought the energy back up, bringing favorites from the 1960s and the 2010s. Charlotte Ostenson ’27’s voice seemed to bounce around the dome of the church as she sang “Be My Baby” by the Ronnettes, before Bella Shawl ’26 showcased her powerful vocals on “Radio” by Lana Del Ray.

A highlight of the concert was Chepenik’s rendition of “Pull the Trigger” by Vella. Chepenik’s singing was soft and sweet throughout the first verse, but the audience was in for a treat once she got to the chorus and showed just how powerful her voice is. Chepenik never used the microphone during her performance, and she didn’t need it as her voice soared throughout the church. “I tend to be more attracted to songs that would be a challenge for my voice and this song was definitely that, especially with the higher belting parts,” she said. “I also chose it because I knew that that song would fit my voice best and showcase every part of it!” Though Chepenik chose the song for its more challenging aspects, her performance seemed effortless.

Jimmy Finnerty ’26’s gentle vocals on Anna Nalick’s song “Breathe (2 AM)” appropriately gave the audience the chance to do just that, before Maddy Revzon ’27 brought down the house with her rollicking cover of Bruno Mars’ “Moonshine.” Revzon stepped up to the microphone to a round of applause from the audience, and it was immediately clear why. Her vocal control was on full display, as she held longer notes with ease and danced through quicker lyrics. Friendship helped lead Revzon to her spring solo. “My good friend, Conor Kennealy ’27, showed me ‘Moonshine’ last semester and I immediately loved it,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.  

The concert hit its emotional peak when all but two of the Chasers took their seats in the pews, as Claire Lanzendorf ’24 and Emily Banthin ’24 sang their senior song, “In the Long Run” by The Staves. Lanzendorf appreciated the chance to perform the duet with Banthin. “We’ve both seen each other through our time here, and it was special to be able to get up alongside her for the last time,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. The seniors’ voices fit together perfectly, each equally well-suited to the melody and harmony. As they continued through the song, Lanzendorf and Banthin had to stop singing for a few moments to wipe some tears, and they weren’t alone, as the performance moved every person sitting in the church. Lanzendorf and Banthin ended up having to cut their performance short due to their emotion, which only added to the gravity of the moment. “We didn’t end up finishing it during the concert, but we performed it later for the group, which was special and something I’ll remember forever,” Lanzendorf said. 

After the Chasers shared some fond hugs and the audience wiped their tears, Noah Spinar ’27 stepped up to the microphone and immediately brought the mood back up. From the playful harmonizing from the rest of the Chasers to the smile that never left Spivak’s face while he sang, his rendition of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars was pure joy. “The entire group was getting really into it and having so much fun with the upbeat characteristics of the song,” Chepenik said. “We really do have so much fun singing together and creating an entire song just from a few notes and syllables.”

Will Hulsey ’26 slowed things down with “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child (as covered by Hozier). He showed off an impressive range, dipping into the deepest parts of his bass register, while also showing mastery of tricky rhythms, as the audience nodded and swayed along. Sophie Homlar ’25’s soft and sweet vocals perfectly fit the melancholy and tenderness of Ingrid Michaelsen’s “Mountain and the Sea.”

Lanzendorf’s final solo with the Chasers, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, held particular meaning. “It’s special to me and my dad and he’s always said he wished he could hear me sing it,” she said. “Both he and my mom came to the concert so I got to surprise them!” As her voice rang out through the church, Lanzendorf held onto the microphone through the second chorus, swaying in time. Revzon was proud of how the Chasers’ voices came together for Lanzendorf: “Will’s arrangement was so stunning and really fun to sing. I really think we blended best on that song and Claire sounded wonderful for her last solo.”

The Chasers’ penultimate soloist, Uma Rayani ’27, brought a country flare with “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. The bright and cheery harmonizing from the rest of the group was an unexpected but delightful contrast with Rayani’s powerful vocals. The solos ended on a perfect note, as Banthin sang Maggie Rogers’ “Don’t Forget Me.” Banthin’s clear, beautiful vocals rose from the altar all the way to the dome of the church. The emotion was obvious in her voice as she left the audience and her fellow Chasers with the chorus’ poignant plea: “But promise me that when it’s time to leave / Don’t forget me.”

The Chasers’ spring concert concluded as their concerts always do with their traditional closer, “Amazing Grace.” The arrangement, beautiful on its own, was hauntingly so in the church, as each voice layered together and built to a crescendo, each member of the group entirely absorbed in the music and shared love. Fittingly, Banthin sang the final lyrics, closing the concert and her and Lanzendorf’s time with the Chasers.

For Chasers, both new and graduating, the group has provided a home at Kenyon. “I knew that I wanted to do collegiate a cappella when I was looking at schools, but I wasn’t expecting to find this special of a group,” Revzon said. “Everyone was super kind and welcoming from the beginning and they gave me an immediate community. I definitely wouldn’t have met and become friends with a lot of the Chasers if we weren’t in the same a cappella group, so I am grateful everyday that I joined.”

The Chasers will always hold a special place in Lanzendorf’s heart, no matter how far from the Hill she is. “I had a really rough freshman year, and wasn’t sure about Kenyon. Sophomore year, I ended up really finding my people in the Chasers, who welcomed me with such open and loving arms,” she said. “I met some incredible people who seemed to open up an entirely new path for me and completely transformed the way I see Kenyon. I owe so much of my Kenyon experience to the group, and I hope that I can help new members find a home here as well.”

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