Sophomore finds leadership opportunities in multiple choirs

Jessica Richardson | Staff Writer

During the Choral Department’s Christmas show week, sophomore Kirsten (KiKi) White prepares to perform with, and help lead, two different choirs.

“During Christmas show, it can be a little stressful, but still very fun,” White said. “Being in the two choirs means I get to do what I love more which is perform.”

IMG_4123White has been in dance for 13 years and was more than ready to move up to the all-girls varsity choir, the Debtones this year. After being dance captain in Accents (the JV all girls choir) her freshman year, White became a junior dance captain in Debtones with dance captain, senior Kaitlyn Siemons.

Though White was placed in a varsity choir, she decided to double-up by being in Accents AND in Debtones.

“I love being in Debs because it is my first year in a varsity choir, but I love being in Accents because the new members to show choir see me as a role model and I almost always have an answer to their questions,” White stated.

White is also currently Accents company manager and dance captain.

“Being dance captain is a great experience,” White said. “The girls look to me and ask questions if they’re ever confused. This makes it a great experience because I know I’m helping someone else out.”

Debtones has been working on their Christmas show since show choir boot camp over the summer.

“I feel that I have worked very hard to get prepared for the show,” White said. “The Accents come to class ready to work and listen every time. In Debs, we have been working on Christmas songs since July. Spending so many months on the same songs may seem like it would get annoying but that’s never the case. We are always focused and making new corrections!”

White has been running back and forth between both choirs during the rehearsals to make all the cues and dress changes.

“During class, the stress level is very low, but when we get to after-school rehearsal I have to make sure I’m splitting my time evenly between two choirs,” White said. “This can be stressful because I am often switching between the two groups, and Accents is typically waiting for my cue to go backstage.”

Though it may be tough to remember all the choreography and notes in each choir, there are many advantages to being involved in two different choirs.

“I feel that the benefits of being in both choirs are that I learn different lessons from both Mrs. Dice and Mr. Norman,” White said. “Their teaching styles are unique in a way that you are always learning life lessons while still learning about music every day.”

Whether learning lessons as a leader or a participant, as a rookie or as a veteran, White has found her niche in the choir department.

Choir department prepares for Fall Fest

Mia Mulinaro, Dylan Godsave, Jackson Gardner, and Jess Richardson | Contributors

Tonight the Choral Department kicks off the year with the Fall Fest Showcase.

“We practice all the time and we practice really hard. We’re pushed to our limits but as a team I think it brings us closer,” Caela Heisinger, who is a new member of Sound System, said. “I like that part of it: putting everything we have on the stage.”

The stage has been busy every day this week as students prepared for the showcase, including a six-hour rehearsal on Tuesday night.

“It’s always good to see how the groups come together,” junior Phoebe Joubert, who is a part of the Debtones, said. “We practice a lot to make it the best we can.”

The Debtones have been focusing on their sound by practicing in the Fishbowl at the entrance to the Hall of Excellence, which replicates the sound in the auditorium but allows singers to hear themselves better.

“I’m most excited about our song Lift Thine Eyes To The Mountains,” Joubert said. “It’s really pretty and it’s really cool to be able to sing like that.”

The Mendolssohn piece introduces complex harmonies in a classical form, a genre which is new to some members.

“This year we are really focused on trying out new genres and improving our show. We have come a long way from boot camp this summer, and I am excited to see how this year progresses,” choir director Jared Norman said.

CG Students Shoot to Stardom

Jess Richardson | Staff Writer

Seniors Haley Burgh and Wilson Smith are no strangers on the high school stage. As cast members for CG shows and as soloists in the 16-17 Sound System competition show, they received local attention. However, they broadened their audience last summer with professional experiences.

image2Both Smith and Burgh opened for Kyle Dean Massey, a Broadway star, at The Cabaret at the Indiana Landmark Center in Indianapolis.  Massey is known for his roles in Broadway shows, Wicked, Pippin and Next to Normal. He also has a role in the ABC series Nashville.  

Center Grove High School choirs have a partnership with The Cabaret allowing professional singers to perform and work with students in Sound System and Debtones.  

“Being able to open for such a talented performer was such an honor,” Burgh said.

In addition to opening for Massey, Smith also performed a duet with him.

“[Massey]  was not only very talented, but he was extremely kind, personable and humble,” Smith said. “[It was] by far one of the coolest performances I’ve ever done.”

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

In leading up to the performance, Smith and Burgh worked with vocal instructors and attended vocal camps including the “American Songbook Competition.”

“Kids from all over the country auditioned for the competition, and Wilson and I were actually selected to be in the top 40 to come for the camp,” Burgh said. “I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it was one of the most fulfilling, life-changing experiences we have ever had. We learned so much about music and our own voices in that week that we will take with us for the rest of our lives.”

In working at the camp and with vocal instructors, both students received advice in picking a song that matched their voice. Burgh sang the song “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Smith sang the song “What Do I Need With Love” from Thoroughly Modern Millie

The performance proved to be “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure,” Burgh said. “Performing in such an intimate setting was so new and fun for me.”

Burgh plans to pursuing a career in vocal performance and hopes to have a career in performing opera, musical theatre or, perhaps, Broadway.

Smith plans to pursuing a career in either vocal performance, music composition or music education along with a double major or minor in business.