Singing through the school day: an inside look at ETHS’ choruses

Sophie Yang, Staff Writer

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ETHS is home to many choruses that go largely unrecognized. Ranging from vocal jazz to an all female ensemble, students have the chance to experience a variety of vocal music. Mary Theresa Reed, director of the three chorus classes and after school performing ensembles, has been the advisor for 16 years.

“Right now we have three level choir [classes]: chorale, concert choir and advanced vocal ensemble,” Reed says. “After school, we have vocal jazz and The Dazzling Dames.”

Chorale, concert choir and advanced vocal ensemble are all classes that can be taken at ETHS. Placement depends on grade level and skill level. Chorale has no audition and is great for beginning singers. Concert choir is audition only for underclassmen. Auditions aren’t required for upperclassmen who have previously taken chorale.

Although only a freshman, Isa Victorson is involved with many of the school’s chorale programs.

“I’m in vocal jazz, concert choir and an all female choir, The Dazzling Dames. The program gives you a lot of opportunities to do many different things,” Victorson says.

Advanced vocal ensemble is a class solely for auditioning juniors and seniors. Senior Emma Barreto is taking advanced vocal ensemble. The class started only last year, and is currently all female. Barreto opens up about what it’s like singing in an all female choir.

“It’s nice to have a class where everyone can relate to your identity,” Barreto says. “It’s also one of the most diverse places in the school.”

For Barreto, choir has opened up a space where music lovers can come together without judgement. Along with the classes, ETHS offers two after school performing ensembles. The Dazzling Dames is an all female group, along with vocal jazz which is open to anyone.

Senior Josh Peng joined vocal jazz as a sophomore. He talks about the many experiences it opened up for him, especially as a performer.

“I didn’t really think I was a singer until sophomore year when I started getting involved with the choir,” Peng says. “It was challenging at first to fit into the group being one of the only male singers but with time and practice, I’ve been able to find my own voice.”

Peng is heavily involved with the music programs at ETHS. Along with his participation in vocal jazz he’s also in band. Peng talks about the contrasts between singing vocal jazz and regular choir music.

“You really have to listen in on all the different inflections and voices, which makes it very different from chorale music,” Peng describes.

Along with Peng, sophomore Jacob Frisher is in vocal jazz. Frisher talked about his positive perception of the choir community.

“There’s always someone who will start conversations with you, and the fact that we’re able to make the music that we make with all the really good people who are in it is really cool,” Frisher says.

Frisher also talks about being in vocal jazz, and how having after school ensembles along with classes allowed him to pursue his passion.

“Taking the class means going every single day. It is convenient to have a dedicated part of the day to sing and make music. With the vocal jazz group you still get to sing and practice, but you can also take a different elective,” Frisher says.

The variety of vocal musical programs at ETHS gives students a chance to pursue their passions and explore different kinds of music.