When the Notes Drop


The women’s chorus performs “Bayushki”, as they are accompanied by a pianist and conducted by Choir Teacher Vanessa Winslow.

The women’s chorus performs “Bayushki”, as they are accompanied by a pianist and conducted by Choir Teacher Vanessa Winslow.
The women’s chorus performs “Bayushki,” as they are accompanied by a pianist and conducted by Choir Teacher Vanessa Winslow.

Students gather in a circular formation in the foyer. The performers take advantage of the superior ambience and acoustics the foyer provides compared to the choir room. The sounds echo off the walls, producing resonant sounds. These sounds come together to make multiple songs—songs that will be played during the choir concert.

The 2016 Spring Concert, which took place on March 7, was not only a successful event, but also played a vital role in getting students ready for the upcoming University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition in April.

Junior Hoang Nguyen, a tenor singer, believed the concert to be a huge success and valuable practice for the UIL event.

“It was a good learning experience for the new kids in choir, considering many of the students in [the] men and women’s chorus are brand new to choir. We sang our UIL pieces in front of parents, students, and staff members to prepare for the competition next month. I think the concert went pretty well. The new students got to perform their pieces in front of a crowd and practice in a more serious environment like that of UIL.”

Senior Hong Nguyen, the Soprano I Section Leader, had a similar impression of the concert. She expresses the significance of the concert.

“[This] concert is sort of a way for choir [students] to prepare for UIL. All the pieces sung are UIL pieces that we will perform next month. I want to say we all feel much more confident and are better prepared for UIL because of how well the concert went.”

Although music is what connects each of choir’s many concerts, this concert was quite different, according to Hong.

“First of all, [it was] free. Second of all, we performed our UIL pieces, which are much harder and more stylistically intricate than the songs we usually sing. Third of all, [it was] free.”

Junior Kathy Nguyen, an alto singer, expresses what she believed was the lasting impact of the choir concert.

“It was very fun as some of the songs were very upbeat. The choir concert was overall a good time for choir students like me to show off what I have been working on in class since January.”

Fredy Bonilla, the director for choir, divulges the difficulties he faces during events, such as the concert.

“One of the biggest challenges for our choir is getting the performance aspect. Connecting with an audience, and conveying emotions to deliver a message is very difficult. It’s an advanced concept that takes a long time to learn, and is even more challenging when you add the layer of singing in a foreign language. Below that, we also have to make sure everyone’s rhythms, tone, notes, and vowels are all aligned in a massive group effort. Choir, and other music ensembles, is challenging as everyone has to breathe together and be in complete sync until the end. There is awkward tension and release throughout a whole piece that is exhausting and satisfying in the end.”

Bonilla went on to explain that his students overlook the hardships that come with performing to reach success.

“We are constantly striving for perfection in a performance knowing that we may never reach it. I don’t expect perfection in a live performance; live music is imperfect, but we all work hard to constantly try and achieve it. It’s great when things go well at the concert, but the concert is just one part of the entire journey of preparing for it. The positive moments in the rehearsal process and the concert are what make it all worth it.”

Kerr choir students will take part in a pop concert on Thursday, May 12. During the pop show, students will get an opportunity to showcase that choir is more than just singing classical music, but can also perform more upbeat and fun songs.