Great Gig Celebrates the Work of Lauryn Hill

What better way to honor the 25th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” the acclaimed solo debut album of singer/rapper Lauryn Hill, than with a spectacular Great Gig in the Sky concert?

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“It’s the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) and the first rap album to win Album of the Year at the Grammys,” Gilles Pugatch, Great Gig director, explained.

Eighty student performers took the stage at the Claudia Boettcher Theatre on April 28 and 29 to bring the iconic singer’s LP to beautiful life in this beloved annual music extravaganza.

For Shaza Murigande ’24, lead vocalist in two songs and background vocalist and member of Dobbs 16 in other songs, the music was exhilarating. “The album is so rich in harmonies, ad-libs and riffs, so there was a lot I had to memorize, but it was a very enjoyable experience,” she said, “Learning the ins and outs of the songs felt like a refreshing and exciting task.”

As keyboardist and co-leader of Positive Rhythm, the student-led R&B ensemble, Noah Lin ’23 loved performing “Ex-Factor.” “I had the opportunity to dive deep into the arrangement, making little alterations and drawing the band's attention to the finely tuned nuances of the arrangement. And it paid off!” he said. “Everyone brought their A-game. Sage and Eden killed it on the lead vocals, Dakota and Trey's time feel on drums was on point, Raymond's stage presence was gorgeous, and Alex's guitar solo was the perfect high-energy closer.”

Aoife Fortuna ’23, a lead singer and background vocalist, fed off the energy of her fellow performers who were genuinely excited and passionate. “I also enjoyed the connections I made with other students, and the positive atmosphere that was created by a group of talented artists who loved what we were doing!”

Pugatch applauded the collaboration of the School’s multi-tasking faculty. “Jennifer Carnevale was deeply involved in coaching the vocalists throughout the process. John-Alec Raubeson shepherded the middle school ensemble. Sam Appiah ’12 coached some of the ensembles and advised on church conservatory-style singing and Jeff Carnevale organized the student lighting designers and designed 80% of the show.”

Lin summed up the experience best. “It was a blast from start to finish, and I am very grateful I got to be a part of it.”