Live From New York, It’s a Terp!

Choral Director and Singers Back Up Coldplay on ‘SNL’

If you’re a night owl who loves sketch comedy, you might have spotted a Terp in an unexpected place in February: backing up Coldplay on “Saturday Night Live.”

Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor Jason Max Ferdinand D.M.A. ’15 (above, far right) and his choir, the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, sang along with lead singer Chris Martin during “The Astronaut” and “Human Heart/Fix You.”

Singer Jacob Collier, a longtime friend of Ferdinand who had previously worked with Coldplay, was the link connecting the British rock band to the Terp.

“It was pretty surreal when Jacob mentioned it, but it became real when Chris himself called me and said, ‘We need 24 singers,’” Ferdinand says.

He turned to his group of 36 singers to see who could make the performance on two weeks’ notice. The ensemble performs in styles ranging from the baroque to contemporary, and members include full-time musicians and music educators, undergraduate and graduate students, even a law student and a police officer.

The group got the musical scores on Wednesday and arrived in New York City late on Thursday. They immediately started rehearsing, polishing their vocals and blocking the performances.

Ferdinand said the show’s production backstage was “organized chaos” and being a part of it all was “incredible.” “All the performers quickly gained this mutual respect for one another, and we totally admire what Coldplay does,” he says.

Watch the performance at


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