People and Editorial Editors
On Sept. 9, the Los Gatos High School choral department hosted the first-ever all-day choir camp, focusing on students and team building inside and across LGHS’s three distinct choirs. Choral director Maricel Riley designed the experience to allow the students in the choirs to “be a part of something bigger than [them]selves,” and to give students “an opportunity to just work on our vocal technique with the coaches and clinicians that we don’t usually do in class.”
The camp was split into two parts, with the first half taking place in the morning and focusing on singing. Riley specifically chose West Valley College choral instructor Justin Su’esu’e to help with the choir’s tone “because he has two different [experiences] in terms of the business: He is an opera singer and he performs in Broadway.” She viewed this as a perfect opportunity to cater to students looking to pursue a music career. Su’esu’e provided each of the individual choirs with valuable feedback, listening to and critiquing their song performances.
The second half of the day focused on team building, which started with a selfie scavenger hunt set up by senior Tanya Goel. Goel explained her role during the hunt as “making sure it went smoothly and that people were actually interacting with people from different choirs.” Students worked with their randomly assigned teams to complete challenges such as finding an avocado painting, serenading a stranger, and making a human pyramid. After an intense competition, Choir Leadership awarded the winning team with bundt cakes. The scavenger hunt brought students of all grades closer together and allowed everyone to feel like a part of a team.
Later, students split into groups of people who shared their vocal part from each choir, conquering a completely new piece of music, Refuge — a song inspired by Sara Teasdale’s poem. Upperclassmen helped guide new choir members through the song, and although there was only an hour to piece it together, the choir successfully performed the song by the end of it.
After a thrilling time in the campus pool, students headed to the community room for dinner, which was organized by hard-working parent volunteers. Sophomore Nicolas Deschaux-Beaume reflected on his overall experience at camp, saying “I definitely met a lot of new people that I would not have met otherwise and became closer with them…It’s great fun. I definitely made a lot of strong connections.”
The 2023 choir camp certainly set LGHS’ choirs up for success this year, aiding not only in vocal technique but also in friendship. Riley concluded, saying “I [think] that the groups are well balanced. [The] students are wonderful. They’re hardworking and I’m looking forward for a lot of concerts [and] a lot of festivals.”
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