Larson assumes leadership role in Music Department

SINGING WITH SOUL: Sight-readng his sheet music, senior Ethan Larson  practices music from one of his many singing groups. Larson serenades audiences as a member of Nine, Scat That! and Chamber Singers. Photo by Sean Dolan

Sean Dolan

SINGING WITH SOUL: Sight-readng his sheet music, senior Ethan Larson practices music from one of his many singing groups. Larson serenades audiences as a member of Nine, Scat That! and Chamber Singers. Photo by Sean Dolan

Maeve Plunkett & Imra Tajuddin, staff reporters

Whether it’s caroling in the halls around the holiday season for Chamber singers, harmonizing with the other  members of Nine or singing gibberish instead of words in a Scat That! performance, senior Ethan Larson is believed to excel in all aspects of the Music Department.

In addition to being a part of four singing groups at South, Larson is the Girls’ Glee choir assistant to Marty Sirvatka, Music Department director and instructional supervisor.

As Sirvatka’s assistant, Larson receives a leadership opportunity and a form of independent study in music education, according to Sirvatka.

“He helps me with auditions, assessment and attendance, and he also serves as someone that the kids can talk to in rehearsal,” Sirvatka said. “He’s sort of the liaison between me and the kids [during Glee choir].”

Sirvatka explained that the position was created originally to make Girls’ Glee more efficient when it took place on the eight period schedule. Now, the position has grown into more. Larson was chosen because of his involvement in the Music Department.

“He, above anybody else in choir, is really involved and probably the most experienced,” Sirvatka said. “He’s in the [Variety] Shows; he’s in the district festivals. He’s pretty much in anything we offer.”

The process by which the assistant is chosen is weighted by interest shown, but can also involve a waiting list and interview process. However, Sirvatka said that with Larson, he knew it was the right choice.

According to Larson himself, he achieved the position by expressing interest and inquiring about its availability. He asked Sirvatka in his junior year whether or not Sirvatka was going to have an assistant the following year; Sirvatka said yes and offered Larson the position.

“With Ethan, it seemed like a really good fit, because not only did he express interest, but he has been with me for so many years,” Sirvatka said. “I’ve known him since he was a freshman, [and] it seemed like a really natural fit, and he also knows me pretty well.”

It’s not all work though, according to Larson. He gets to have fun with his position through interacting with the students during class.

Sirvatka said, “We will sometimes joke around and Ethan will make a face behind me. He keeps the spirit in the choir from getting too serious. Sometimes, we just laugh and joke around, and the girls know it’s funny when Ethan is laughing.”

MaryJean Allen, Larson’s voice teacher, noted that his musical talent is natural.

“The first time I ever heard him really sing on his own was when he was just warming up in voice lessons for me,” Allen said. “It was such a beautiful sound […] He really works very hard in the pursuit of a goal and he loves music.”

While singing is his passion now, Larson wasn’t always interested in choir. It was actually his mom who encouraged him to try out for a singing group in order to get involved.

“At the end of my freshman year, my mom made me audition for Nine,” Larson said. “I just whipped up some random [stuff] that I thought was awful in 15 minutes. I was just going to go and do badly just [to] make [my mom] happy . . . [I] left that audition really excited, that was actually what made me audition the next week for Chambers, which I went into again with no expectations. But then I got a phone call from Mr. Sirvatka that said he wanted me in the group for next year.”

After his name appeared on the list of Chambers members, Larson’s peers commended him on his achievement, and he became excited about the idea of being involved in the Music Department.

“All of my friends were like, ‘That’s awesome’ and ‘Good job,’ and I was like ‘Wow, this is fun and cool and people don’t mind if I sing,’” Larson said. “That was what started me going all into choir.”

Allen said that Larson has opportunities for a bright future ahead of him because of his talent and dedication.

“It’s just a really, really beautiful voice,” Allen said. “I feel like if he wanted to have a solo career, he could have it. But he’s also trying to be really smart, and I think he’s looking into the music business.”

According to Larson, he is aiming for a music-based career in his future so that he can continue this passion in his daily life.

“I want to go into music in some capacity,” Larson said. “Chances are I’m going to end up at a desk somewhere. If I am going to work a desk in my life, I want it to be for something that I love and enjoy, which is music. I want to get a music business degree or music industry degree from a couple of colleges.”