Cleveland’s Annual Harvest Festival: A Colorful Celebration of Music


By Graham Jones, Reporter

A warm, orange glow lit up the stage at Cleveland’s annual Harvest Festival Oct. 17 as rain poured down outside, hustling guests into the school auditorium. As the lights went down, the audience hushed in anticipation of the large array of music to be presented by the choral department. Though the night was in celebration of the fall season’s arrival, the theme only seemed to be in name and in time as all the songs were unique. For funding, the concert had a table filled with treats available to purchase with a cash donation. After choir teacher Allison Bassett welcomed the audience and talked about the students’ passion and love for the music to be performed, the sound of harmonizing voices began to fill the room.


Though there were 18 tracks sung over the course of the night, it was still hard to pick favorites since all of them were magnificent and had their own wonderfulness about them. Despite this, a few highlights did shine through including “High on the Mountain,” an epic song that stirred up images of Vikings and lush forests with its chant-like melody and build-up to a bombastic finale. 

Another highlight was the song “Beast of Pirate’s Bay,” which was joyfully performed by a smaller choir group named the Lunchables, a group that met at lunch to work on their own material. The song was a fun and spooky campfire tune with props and full choreography from the singers. The delightfully cheesy lyrics and outrageous dance moves made for the most entertaining moment of the night. 

One high moment came towards the end of the show with a cover of the Foundations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup.” Not only was it great to hear a revision of the classic ‘60s melody, but it was also marvelous to see how much the choir was enjoying the performance. Wide smiles and jumpity excitement was across the stage with some even adding their own high and low notes to spice up the track. With such glowing happiness, it was hard not to sing and dance alongside the choir. 

The showstopper was a solo performance by sophomore Audrey Opsahl of Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke.” Opsahl took center stage as she sang and played the piano. The mix of her beautiful voice and the notes of the piano made sorrowful and deep performance, reminiscent of some of Billy Joel’s best work. “I was very nervous the whole time because I feel like when you get nervous, you’re scared that you’re going to mess up in front of people you really care about and who you really want to sound good for, but I think it is important to be nervous sometimes,” she said.  “I was really excited to share my voice with everybody and it’s a really powerful song, so I thought the message really needed to be heard.” Opsahl’s voice and piano work left a lasting mark on me and the rest of the audience.

If one theme could be attributed to the night, it could be the students’ true love and devotion to their choir work. “We love our music, we love our choir teacher, and we love each other,” said Daires member Rachel Chan, a senior.  “For many of us, choir is the highlight of our day, and because of this, we’ve been able to focus and work so hard on our music and bring it to the level where we want it to be.”

There is really no better way to describe the theme of the night than with that quote. The choir is already hard at work for their next performance – the winter concert – which is sure to be as, or even more fantastic than the harvest festival.