JTAC brings in middle school voices for future recruitment

Teaching the youngsters: Helping middle schoolers learn a capella, seniors Ben Kalish (standing left) and Brian Destefano (standing right)    share their knowledge to make the transition into high school choir easier. The kids have an opportunity to prepare for South’s choir.

Naomi Skiles

Teaching the youngsters: Helping middle schoolers learn a capella, seniors Ben Kalish (standing left) and Brian Destefano (standing right) share their knowledge to make the transition into high school choir easier. The kids have an opportunity to prepare for South’s choir.

Olivia Perkins and Drew Whitford

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In unison, sounds of many middle schooler’s voices fill the GBS choir room where Junior Titan A Capella (JTAC) is held every Thursday. The program is bringing in new faces from the feeder schools to hopefully increase choir enrollment numbers in the future years, according to JTAC sponser, Andrew Toniolo. While being exposed to the communities here at South, these kids are also becoming familiar with the choir directors, Toniolo and Robert Shellard, along with a strong and well-rounded group of seniors.

Senior Colleen Demling formed JTAC to help middle schoolers prepare for GBS choir and to inform them on what it is like. Demling expressed that this new opportunity allows middle schoolers to get a feel for and fall in love with the program. Demling, who has been in choir since she was five, wants others to love it as much as she does.

“I love a capella, it’s a big part of my life and I know it’s a really big part of other people’s lives,”  Demling said.

Being involved in choir from such a young age has built up her love for it, Demling explained. She wants everyone to love and enjoy it as much as she does, especially the younger kids as they have more time to grow to love it.

The rush of performing and the excitement from meeting new friends is something Demling wants everyone to experience. According to Demling, being a senior leader means being a role model and someone who the JTAC kids may possibly aspire to be so it’s vital that they have such a strong passion for singing.

Toniolo shared his opinion on the drop in choir enrollment numbers. The choir could be at its all-time high, especially with the biggest freshman class South has ever seen and instead, it’s hit new record lows, Toniolo explained.

“We are at the highest point of enrollment in school history, so schoolwide enrollment is up, yet there is a very low point in our choral enrollment,” Toniolo said.

Domenica Collaro, a seventh-grader at Attea, said that she enjoys the program because it has opened her up socially and has built up her confidence and Yang, an eighth-grader at Attea, agrees.

“When I am a freshman, I might consider trying to actually go into the choir here, [and] this is getting me started,” Yang said. “You get to meet new people, new friends, and new teachers. You’ll get a little bit of a head start.”

Yasmeen Mohammed Rafee, a senior leader of JTAC stated that singing has had an important impact on her life and hopes it will have the same effect for others as well.

“In general, singing brings livelihood and creativity, it engages people, [it’s] something to be cherished,” Mohammed said. “Singing, to me, is just something that I can’t let go of.”