Past Graduates

Darya Likhareva

Ten years with Cantabile

I still remember my first Cantabile rehearsal as if it was yesterday: too many strangers in too big a room, and I, timidly sitting in my corner, staring at the formation in front of me. The conductor was ushering children of about my age into an unbroken hand-in-hand line as he proceeded to walk around the room until a perfect circle was made. He then started dancing by shaking his hands up and down, and the children followed. I remember thinking “is this really what a choir does?" The director then motioned for me to stand and as he passed me, took my hand and pulled me into the procession. When the director stamped, we stamped, when he clapped, we clapped. He stopped and sang a short melody in syllables I had never heard before. People around me followed as if they’d done this their whole lives. I hesitantly copied what they did and realized that I had never heard anything so lovely before. I instantly fell in love with that sound. That was my first day in Cantabile, the choir that I am so passionate about now. Cantabile for me has been more than just a class; it has been an experience through which I found friendship and acceptance. From Stephen Hatfield’s choral arrangement of a traditional Nepali ceremony Tjak, to our appearance on the stage of Carnegie Hall, to singing in a professional production of the opera Carmen, Cantabile and Elena never bored me. Every rehearsal was an enriching lesson of history, music, and culture. Thank you Elena, and Cantabile, for everything you have given me.

All the best at De Anza College, Darya!