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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Students uphold rare position as sophomores in Advanced Choir

A freshmen making a GBS small choir group is the equivalent of landing on a ladder in chutes and ladders. It’s difficult and no one expects it, but every once in a while a few spectacularly talented freshmen  each spring make either Nine, Solace, Chambers, or Scat That, according to choir director Martin Sirvatka. Jack Riley, Ethan Reiss, Tiffany Fujiwara, and Tony Cipolla are the sophomores that made small choir groups this year.

Though it is uncommon for sophomores to take part in these advanced choir groups, Sirvatka believed that their participation is vital to the group itself.

“[I recruited sophomores] partly because of the needs in the group, and partly [because] I love to always have a few that I know will carry on the traditions, even when others graduate,” Sirvatka said. “If I only put seniors in the group, then I’m inventing the wheel every year.”

According to Cipolla, he’s excited for the upcoming year, and, being the new sophomore member in Nine, he acknowledges where his age puts him in terms of the dynamic of the group.

“The group is really good and it’s scary because they expect you to [rise to that], considering music theory and all that I’m like pathetic compared, but how they practice is they just sight read and it’ll sound great,” Cipolla said. “I feel like I’m really behind right now but it’s a growing process.”

Riley, the new sophomore member of Scat That, commented that there’s a new level of “musical sophistication” that these small groups bring, and the process of auditioning was intimidating given the unlikelihood that a freshmen would make it.

“The longer you’ve been in GBS choir the more musically talented you are,” Riley said. “So it’s definitely intimidating, these people who have been in GBS choir for two or three years, and having had a little less than a year of experience when you’re auditioning is kind of terrifying.”

Before these sophomores made the groups, they had to go through auditions.  According to Fujiwara, the new sophomore member of Solace, the auditioning process was not as intimidating, accounting for her standing as a freshman when she tried out.

“Any kind of performing or audition is always nerve-racking for me,” Fujiwara said. “But I feel like it was less nerve-racking just because going into it, I told myself not to have too many high expectations, because I was a freshman.”

Cipolla commented that his audition was an intimidating and new experience, especially to a Freshman, but confidence was key.

“[The audition] was pretty nerve racking…they listen to you very closely and they’re in your face,” Cipolla said. “[Nine] wears sunglasses when they come in so you can’t see their faces while they judge you…to be intimidating.”

Not only were auditions intimidating, but Fujiwara noted that working with the older members seemed to be a daunting task as well.

“I felt kind of intimidated, especially by the girls in the group already, because I’ve heard them sing before and I knew who they were and a lot of people knew who they were,” Fujiwara said. “But they’re all super nice and it’s awesome.”

Riley commented that when you’re trying out for these groups as a freshmen you have nothing to lose because there’s no expectation, which just means he had more to prove.

“Upperclassmen can mess up or do something wrong and the directors can be like ‘Okay, I know that they’re usually fine. They probably just had a bad audition’ but you don’t really get that [as a freshman] because they don’t know you,” Riley said. “You get one shot.”

According to Cipolla, being in Nine is giving him new opportunities to develop his skills and musical confidence.

“It gives a good opportunity for certain skills I wouldn’t have otherwise, like being independent,” Cipolla said. “Because when you’re in normal choir, everyone’s singing the same part but you basically have your own part [in Nine] so I have to learn in the aspect of being independent and confident in myself.”

According to Sirvatka, though they may be young, these sophomores have a certain quality that sets them apart from other members of their class.

“They usually display a little bit more responsibility than a typical freshman [or] sophomore,” Sirvatka said. “[…] There’s this energy they bring to the group, this youthful, wide-eyed, ‘I’m going to do this’ [attitude]. So it’s kind of cool to have that.”

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