London may have had Lennon and McCartney, but Washington has Newman and Flannery. Washington High School senior Meghan Newman and junior John Flannery have been working together to arrange music for years and will present their last pieces together at their choir concert on April 30.
Newman has plans to attend Drake University in the fall where she will study psychology and music while Flannery begins his senior year of high school. Throughout their time together, the two say the other has become a sounding board for them because going to teachers for advice can be intimidating, but having a friend they trust and who understands what they are trying to accomplish, has helped them find success.
“It’s a nice thing to have that fresh perspective,” Newman said.
“It’s harder for me to open up to those people, but with Meghan, she knows,” Flannery explained.
Newman explained that when listening to the music, they are each listening for flow and for things to make sense musically. They are each in tune with the other’s unique style of writing and arranging and can generally see the vision of what the other is trying to achieve.
“It’s really nice because if I show other friends something, they say, ‘Oh that’s cool,’ but they don’t really understand,” Flannery said.
Newman explained the arranging process, of taking a piece and giving it new life by changing the tempo, notes or style, is only one way they work together. Finding the right words to express the piece is just another portion of the puzzle.
“I can write all of these pieces, but for the life of me I can never think of anything for a title,” Flannery said with a laugh. Newman explained they bounce ideas off each other and even work together to find poems or proverbs they can use for lyrics when they write choral pieces.
Newman may be off to college in the fall, but the duo have no plans to cease working together. They say the bond they have created here will stick with them wherever they go.
Each of them will have a piece performed at the vocal music concert on Tuesday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Washington High School Auditorium.