Choir hosts open mic with hopes of raising money for trip

Ella Bowker, Staff Writer

Around the end of last school year, Orchestra and Choir members were sent a compelling email that announced a 2022-2023 school year combined-group trip. These trips occur every two years for choir, orchestra, and band, with the goal in mind to provide both a socially and musically meaningful experience for those students. For this school year, the band will go on a separate trip from the others.

The email’s survey allowed choir and orchestra students to choose from four trip location options: Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Los Angeles. After the results were collected, a New Orleans trip was announced. 

“I’m very excited! We went to New Orleans in freshman year also. It was so much fun, and I think I would enjoy it even more this year,” said senior Sadie Clutter. 

The New Orleans trip itinerary lists not only sight-seeing attractions such as visiting the French Quarter and enjoying a swamp tour, but also music-related opportunities such as clinics at Tulane University and performing in Jackson square. 

All of these opportunities add up to a costly trip for any student, which the music department has been trying to help students with. 

“We’re bringing between 80 and 100 people and the cost per student is going to be about $1,400, which is quite a lot. So, we have been encouraging students to apply for scholarships, and we’ll host our own sort of department fundraisers throughout the year,” said choir director Sarah Zegree.

Because the cost of the trip is such a large sum of money, scholarship and fundraising opportunities have become a major focus for Choir and Orchestra members. The Unterman Family Fund allows students to apply for funds for the trip. Choir performed at the West End Market as well, raising about $500. The ETHS music department provides further scholarships that can be built up for each student if they choose to raise money from regular fundraising projects.

“Often we do a Fannie Mae fundraiser, which is selling chocolates and having a portion of the money go towards the trip. But that’s just not everyone’s thing. A lot of people forget about it. It can be very tedious, and only part of that money actually goes to us,” Clutter said. 

For that reason, choir board members proposed an open mic night. 

The board decided to have an open mic to give an easy, low-stress, and no-pressure opportunity for any student to perform. We thought it would be a good way for students to practice performing in front of an audience, because some people don’t have much of that experience and want to get better at it or see what it’s like,” said senior Lucie Escobar.

“We’re all here because we love to sing or play instruments. I thought it would be a fun way for us to showcase our talents, while also making the money that we need to make,” said Clutter. 

On October 27 at 6:30, the choir hosted an open mic night in the little theater. A $5 entrance fee was required, and all profits went to the New Orleans trip. 

“The open mic night was absolutely a success. We made over $200, enough for someone going on the orchestra/choir New Orleans trip to cover their monthly payment. The event was super enjoyable, as everyone performing was so talented and their passion for singing was made abundantly clear. I got to hear a lot of voices that I’ve never heard before!” said Clutter.