By Emma Dognin
The Winter Songwriter’s Original Showcase was a success! All performers created beautiful pieces, ranging from Sabrina Mondschein’s melancholic song “Love is a Battlefield,” to Maria Del Moral and Gabriel Contreras’ fiery duet, “Lose Me Now.” The club’s creativity and musical talent wowed the crowd. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the seniors to learn their thoughts on their last year in the club.
DND is an R&B musical group consisting of Daniel Soto, Noah Walters and David Dunn. Their charismatic stage presence is unmatched, and they brought life to the end of a lengthy performance. Daniel Soto’s light and airy vocals blend beautifully with Noah Walters and David Dunn’s rapping, creating musical explosion. In the Winter Fall Showcase, they performed their song “Loose Ends.” The song has a citrusy feeling to it and upon listening to it, the color orange comes to mind; it is acidic when you listen to the lyrics – but when put together it has a pleasant and inviting aftertaste. They also had an interesting contrast with the backup vocals from Laura Hibbert and Mallerly Moreno and the jazzy saxophone beats from the lovely Arin Dean.
DND’s David produces the groups music and creates an outline of what they can do. Noah explains how their band name was inspired by the game Dungeons and Dragons, and it ended up working with their first name initials.
They all took the school’s Intermediate Music Tech course. Daniel is in choir, and Noah took Class Piano and Class Guitar. They are all very thankful for their music teachers for helping them out and caring about their students.
They came up with the idea for their song “Loose Ends” together, and while Daniel wrote the chorus, he credits Noah for coming up with the idea. They all say they would love to continue to pursue music in college because it holds a place in their hearts.
“I would watch Michael Jackson music videos and say one day that’s going to be me!” said David. “I would watch MTV music videos…and say one day I’m gonna do that," added Daniel. They all encourage people who are passionate about music to pursue it. “There’s no reason you should not do (music)," concluded Noah.
Mallerly Moreno is a vocalist and sound engineer for Songwriter’s Club. Her voice is atmospheric, ethereal, and can be described as a jazzier version of Billie Eilish or Sabrina Claudio. Her song "This is What You Need," is poetically beautiful and has the freshness of a sunset, with its heavenly vocals and instrumentation — especially the guitar interlude towards the end by the ever so talented, Jorge Espinoza. The song will leave you humming
for days on end.
Mallerly has been in the club since her junior year; she says she would have joined sooner if she had known about the performing aspect of the club. She was inspired to join by her friend Christian Sese, who encouraged her to see one of the performances. Aside from the club, she is also in the school’s choir.
After high school she plans to continue to pursue music in college, and she wants to double major in neuroscience and music theory. She hopes that wherever she goes, she can start a Songwriter’s Club. “I want to produce my own music and be my own artist aside from my studies," she said.
Mallerly's favorite part about the club is the people, with whom she has become very close. She loves the positive environment and being around people who have a shared passion for music. She hopes that in her final year she can perform an engaging and exciting song that encourages others who are interested in delving into music to join.
Jonah Kovach is a percussionist for the Songwriter’s Club. Four feet behind every good song and singer, there is a percussionist that makes everything flow together. Jonah does just that. Jonah is animated, sociable, and is a reliable and committed member of the club. Undoubtedly, he is the beating heart of the band and club, putting it all together. He auditioned on his own for the first time with The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song “Can’t Stop” at the Fall Cover Showcase.
Jonah joined the club his freshman year after he went in eighth grade to see one of the clubs’ cover showcases and was inspired. Outside of the club, Jonah is in the school’s Symphonic Band and Marching Band, which he describes as differing seasons.
He likes how the club is like a community of people who all like music. He finds performances for Songwriter’s Club to be much more intimate than other concerts. “The lights are so bright that I can’t see anything…it’s like I don’t see the crowd, and if I could, I would be losing it…it’s a very intimate experience.”
After high school, Jonah hopes to pursue music as a hobby. “I would like music to stay part of my identity and experience," he said.
He encourages people to join and take part in open mics even if they don’t plan on performing just for the experience.
Benny Rosas is a harpist for the Songwriter’s Club. His harp playing creates a whimsical and almost fantasy-like environment to songs, entrancing the audience. You can hear some of his harp playing in cover song "What Was I Made For?" and original song "Snow Globe." Listening to his harp playing is sure to make you feel as though you are drifting off into a zero-gravity environment engulfed in the sound of song.
Benny joined the club his junior year after hearing about it from a friend, Cassandra Acuña Hoppe. Throughout his time in the club, he worked to add harp parts into songs. Aside from the club, Benny is a member of the Mariachi and Symphony Orchestra. He is the first harpist to be in the Symphony Orchestra. “I feel like (the harp) is such a unique instrument and it's very powerful.”
Benny plans to get a degree in music therapy after learning through the club that music can help people and be therapeutic. He feels that music allows people to express themselves through creativity and art.
Benny thinks the best part of the club is the people and says that through the club, he was able to strengthen many friendships. Benny hopes to be on songs in the upcoming cover showcase.
Christian Sese is a vocalist and instrumentalist, who plays the guitar, bass guitar, orchestral bass, and keys — and he’s committee member for the Songwriter’s Club. He is multi-talented as not only does he play all these instruments, but he does all these things well. He has a honeyed singing voice and a charming stage presence. His song "Cold Fingers" is a beautifully crafted blend of vocals and guitar solos. The lyrics are tantalizing and the song itself has a feeling of sizzling anticipation that builds with the thudding of the percussion by Matt Welling. Your fingers may be cold but you sure won’t feel cold inside when you listen to his song.
Christian first found out about Songwriter’s Club when he went to see one of their performances with a few friends in eighth grade, which inspired him to join his freshman year. He has actively been a member of the club for three years: his freshman, junior, and senior year. He explains that he takes inspiration from things such as movies or his own experiences when crafting songs, and he has written around six full songs.
Outside of the club, he is in the school’s Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Pit Ensemble for the Musical, and Honors String Ensemble. He applauds the school for having a lot of emphasis on the arts and is grateful for the club's opportunities for students to put themselves out there. “People get to show up…get better at performing, playing, and singing, and everyone gets to improve their craft, while also showcasing what they work on," he said.
After high school, he hopes to continue to pursue music in college, and learn more instruments such as the trumpet. “I can’t see (music) leaving me, ever," he added. Christian reminds newcomers that it is normal to be nervous and encourages them to not be afraid to put themselves out there.
Elie Goldman is a guitarist and vocalist for the Songwriter’s Club. Listening to him play is like having a feast of musical genres served to you on a silver platter. His song "Losing Sleep," which he performed with his band, The Ground Grippers, has a sense of relatability, and its musical fusion evokes contradicting feelings of desire, anxiety, and most importantly, angst. You will certainly be losing sleep with his rhythmic song running through your head.
Elie first joined his junior year after overcoming performance nerves, to be with his friends and embrace music. Other than the club, he took Intro to Music Technology Class as his first music class at the high school. He played trumpet from fourth to eighth grade and restarted learning guitar in eighth grade. Joining the club inspired him to devote more time to learning guitar, as he enjoyed playing with other people. He has written between several original songs.
For the cover showcase, he plans to be on other members’ songs as an instrumentalist and vocalist. He takes interest in how a lot of the songs have adapted the use of more technology compared to live instrumentation and is interested in the future of the club and music.
He wants to study environmental science in college but hopes to continue to pursue guitar depending on his situation. He also hopes to possibly start playing the trumpet again.
He says he will miss the 15 minutes after the show the most: “When we are all packing up our instruments and hugging…those to me are the memories that stick out the most…I remember when the music is still blaring out of the speakers, and we are all just proud of ourselves and each other.”
Nathan DaSilva is a vocalist and instrumentalist for the Songwriter’s Club. He plays the guitar, bass, ukulele, baritone, and a bit of keyboard. His voice is deep and soothing similarly to the waves of an ocean, and he performs with a sense of grooviness. His song "Cycles" is almost beat poetry-like with its blend of jazzy, indie, and rap genres. With memorable lyrics that create an aesthetic in your mind like the season of spring, you can almost smell a meadow of flowers engulfed in all its tranquility. Additionally, the rapping portion by Noah Walters adds another layer of texture to the song.
He has been an active member of the club for around two years, and he found out about it through his older sister who was a former co-president of the club. Outside of the club, he is in the schools Symphonic Band, where he plays baritone. After high school, he hopes to continue to pursue music by taking some music classes or joining a band in college, where he wants to study psychology.
Nathan encourages people that are interested in pursuing music to practice and work with people to create a band. He reminds people that even if it may be tedious to coordinate times to meet, it can be incredibly fulfilling in the long run. “Music and performance are all about practice…ever since I started performing, even my self-confidence is better," he said.
Matt Welling is a vocalist, percussionist, and committee member for the songwriter’s club. He has a peppy and vibrant voice, and he provides an endlessly positive performance, waking you up like you are finally feeling the effects of a cup of coffee or a sugar rush. His song “The Underdog” evokes feelings of confidence and determination. It’s bouncy and lively like daisies swaying in the wind. Its catchy and uplifting beat is sure to stay in your head, adding an extra swagger to your stride.
Matt is a returning committee member who was in the club since freshman year after becoming inspired to join from his friends who mentioned having seen some of the showcases. He has been playing the drums and singing since a very young age. He is a part of the school’s Marching Band and used to take music classes at the Music Conservatory. He even plans to do an internship there. He wants to study broadcasting in college and hopes to have an outlet to perform music even after high school.
He encourages people who want to commit to music to join the club and said, “This is probably the best place to do it… there’s so much experience and so much help…and if you want to go into the music industry, it's very helpful for that.”
His favorite part of the club is the relationships he formed and seeing people who were in the club years ago come back to see the shows.
Laura Hibbert is a vocalist for the Songwriter’s Club. Her voice is sweet and soft like a cloud floating by or a siren call. Her song “Backseat” is a blend of rock and sugary sweet vocals, with this contrast creating a hot and cold-like liquid blend. Listening to the song feels cinematic and almost retro – as though you are driving down the highway in a red convertible, accelerating into a sunrise.
Laura joined the club her junior year with her friend Mallerly Moreno. The two of them had been making music for a while but did not have an outlet to perform. She focuses on mostly singing but is in the process of learning the guitar. She took the schools Music Tech class which helped her start to relearn piano.
When asked about what she will miss, she said, “I’m gonna miss the atmosphere the most, specifically after we do shows…everyone is so in love with one another. We all hug…and then we all go out to eat.” In college, she plans to minor in music theory, continue putting music out there, and major in health science.
She encourages newcomers to put themselves out there, to keep rocking, and make connections with people who play instruments.
Note: Due to length restrictions, only some of the many talented musicians were interviewed. We hope to be able to interview more of the club's amazing musicians in the future.
Be sure to check out all the talented performers on the club’s YouTube account to show your support! @ The Songwriter’s Club at the White Plains HS