CAN you sing? DO you want to sing? Well here’s your chance! Central High School’s choir has been behind some of the sound you hear from the third floor every morning. They are proof that there really is strength in numbers. Choir is a very talented and inclusive community, and there is much to learn about the quality of your own voice and character at choir.
I joined choir this year. I wasn’t interested in singing professionally or anything like that; I just wanted something to do with my mornings besides wandering around the building and waiting for things to become more lively. My friend Josephine Effendi (279) had told me about the opportunity. I would be getting an honors class credit with choir, so it didn’t sound unappealing at all. I introduced myself to the Director of Choral Activities, Ms. Marianne Gruzwalski, and got started during the first week of school. At first, I felt so unprepared and out of place because everyone seemed to know what they were doing. This was not at all the case. Turns out, I was just overreacting over monosyllabic vocal exercises.
Later, I learned that not every voice had been trained since birth. Some students had been singing since middle school and some like me had only started in high school. The diversity in skill really made me feel comfortable and encouraged me to learn more about music. This task also seemed daunting at first, but Ms. G made it easy. She issued us all worksheets in binders and started everyone off at the same level. In one month, we were sight-reading and studying world music. A couple of months after that, we had successfully completed our first Winter Concert of the year.
Choir has undoubtedly been one of the most positive decisions I have made this school year. Singing is probably the most healthy, easy stress-reliever out there because it doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, Ms. G advises that students should sing out and make mistakes so that they can learn in the most natural way possible. This is Ms. G’s first year at Central, and she’s conducting the class in collaboration with of some of the more experienced students. I really wanted this piece to be as personal and sincere as it could be, so I reached out to her for some insight and advice on the program.
Ms. G has a very extensive role in the music department; she “…direct[s] the singing ensembles at CHS including [the] regular rostered Central High School Choir as well as select groups as Concert Choir, Madrigals, and soon, [the] brand new a cappella group.” She has always been interested in music, and even “…wanted to be Britney Spears.” Instead of heading towards the spotlight, Ms. G decided to teach. She is a very humble instructor, and is proud of her eye-opening position–”…students are driven, and opinionated. I believe that students should have ownership of what they learn,…[which] is also one of the best parts of working at Central or being a music teacher in general. Music brings all kinds of people together under one goal and I welcome the diversity of opinion.”
Finally, for anyone considering joining the singers in Choir, Ms. G has this to say: “I encourage all interested parties to come talk to me, or first, talk to another singer. There are some, especially, that joined choir as juniors or seniors with little to no organized singing background. These students have improved leaps and bounds and could be a really positive influence to a student who is afraid to reach [and sing] out.”
Enoch Tariku (279)