By YASH MAHESHWARI, freshman
THE JP STEVENS CHOIR was gathered in the auditorium on May 31 for the 15th Annual SerenAIDe.
This event was first organized 15 years ago to support those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This year, the cause was changed to helping women in wartorn countries continue their education.
“SerenAIDe has been an important tradition to us for over a decade, and though we changed the beneficiary, we still owe it all to Mrs. Wions for her constant support,” said senior and co-president Shruti Venkat. “This year, we hope to bolster women in war stricken countries and help them gain education and access to jobs.”
The night opened with a song about empowering women throughout the world. “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara began with sophomore Meghna Das playing the piano and sophomore Sofia Viverito singing a solo. Following this piece, “Titanium” by Sia was performed by the lead singer, junior Varsha Karthik, accompanied by instruments. Freshman Neha Edala sang the next song, “River” by Bishop Briggs, which was arranged by freshman Varun Karry.
Next, Meghna took the stage once again with sophomore Jyoti Kabra, captivating the audience with “Dear Hate” by Maren Morris, a song which was released after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Jyoti was the main focus of the stage, with Meghna playing the guitar and providing supporting vocals.
“Music is a way for me to escape harsh realities, and it is the one thing that gives my life purpose. I’m glad I got to do something I love, to inspire others and help people that don’t have the same privileges that I do,” said sophomore Meghna Das.
Then, the MCs invited choir alumni members to join the rest in performing “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. This song was about being compassionate and thoughtful to those around you at all times. Past seniors joined the current ones, singing in unison about being truthful and “seeing true colors.”
Next, “Rise Up” by Andra Day was performed by Shruti, arranged by senior Karina Melgar. Later, Karina was joined by senior Sameer Madhukar for a casual and laid back performance of “Carry On” by Young Rising Sons.
Afterwards, “Fanfare for an Angel,” a piece arranged by James Stephenson for a trumpet quartet, was performed. The quartet, consisting of seniors Matthew Liu and Brian Jiang, and juniors Shriyaus Lingam and Raghul Ravindranathan, gave the performance and displayed the talent of the JP Stevens Wind Ensemble.
Co-presidents Shruti Venkat and junior Mukund Ramakrishnan sang “A Million Dreams” from the award-winning movie The Greatest Showman. Later in the evening, Shruti dedicated the night to Mrs. Wions, a past choir director at JP, her family, and her late husband. The choir started SerenAIDe because of Mr. Wions’ death from ALS. Shruti went on to discuss the new beneficiary, the Women for Women International Organization.
Following Shruti’s speech, an active member in the Women for Women International Organization discussed the purpose of the movement and how it helps abandoned women realize that there are people who will help them achieve their hopes and dreams.
The last performance was given by the nationally recognized JP Stevens Chamber Choir, directed by Shruti Venkat. They sang “On the Morrow” by The Kingston Trio, which is sung every year by the Chamber Choir at SerenAIDe. The evening came to an end as Shruti gave a final thank you.