By Grey Karis-Sconyers
Music has always been an important creative outlet for me. I spent most of my childhood singing a little too loudly in school choirs and tormenting my family members with out-of-tune recorder songs. But I didn’t start taking music seriously until I joined SGC.
At the end of sixth grade, Claudia Chin (then a junior, now an alum) convinced me to audition for SGC. Walking into the choir center I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be good enough to get in. I didn’t need to worry at all because as soon as I finished my audition Jake invited me to join Cantamus at camp that summer. Later that day I sat in on a rehearsal to get a feel for what SGC was like and I was mesmerized. I don’t even remember what songs they were singing but what I do remember is how seriously everyone took the music. I was so excited to join a community of singers who put in hard work to create some amazing music.
When I arrived at camp that summer I found myself feeling nervous again. I thought that because I was joining in middle school, I would have a hard time fitting in with the rest of the choir. I spent my first few hours awkwardly talking to people and worrying about not being able to make any friends. As soon as we had our first rehearsal, all my fears disappeared. We jumped right into our music and I found myself talking and laughing with the people sitting next to me. By the time our rehearsal was over I had already made friends.
I had fun in Cantamus but the highlight of my time in SGC was in the spring of my first year at PV. We put together a performance completely made up of compositions by female composers, dating from medieval times to present day. Some of the composers even came to our concert, including Jessica French who composed “Star Of Strength” for our 40 year anniversary this year. That concert was some of the hardest music I’ve ever performed. Everyone in the choir pushed themselves as musicians and it really paid off. It was especially cool to work with music from so many different eras. As we learned each piece we had to adjust to the different style of composition. I got some amazing hands on learning about music history from that process. It was one thing to hear medieval music, and another to actually try singing a Hildegard piece over a drone. I walked away from that concert with a deeper love for music, and a new understanding of what it means to be a chorister.
SGC has given me the opportunity to improve my skills as a musician and build a close relationship with my fellow choristers. I love learning new pieces and getting lost in the music as I practice it. I loved watching myself grow from a shy middle schooler who barely knew a thing about vocal technique or music theory and whose voice shook when they sang in front of a crowd into a confident adult and section leader. Most of all, I love the sense of community I found when singing with an ensemble. Nothing can beat the sound of my voice blending in and harmonizing with the group, or the feeling of exhilaration I feel during the applause at the end of a good performance. I will forever cherish the friendships and community I built through SGC and I hope to find a similar community in college.