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Chamber Choir success inspires desire for better

Dr. Hughes heralded the CVA Chamber Choir’s performance at November’s NYSCATE conference in Rochester in his most recent blog. The crowd at the conference clearly appreciated the student’s hard work and professionalism. Central Valley drew high praise from all who attended.

But what did our students think? Was it worth the extra effort of rehearsals, long bus rides and little sleep?

Choir members Aaron Barrett, Will Paddock, Caroline Gardner, Justin Jones, Lydia Engel and Anna Engel recently shared their thoughts, all saying it was worth every second.

Although the students are used to performing before a packed CVA auditorium, this was different. The school seats 611 people; the Rochester venue held close to 1,500 people. A CVA audience is comprised of parents, friends and neighbors; Rochester was strangers.

Oddly, it was the strangers that made it easier.

“Some parents over-critique, finding every mistake or they don’t comment at all. This audience was different. It was educators and professionals. We came away knowing we did well,” Will said.

That success did not “just happen.”

“The rigor for rehearsals was more intense than for other performances. The superintendent came into our practice and told us it was big for this area to be represented. That added to the pressure,” Aaron said.

One student equated it to an away game. The cast and director gave up the security of the “home field advantage,” traveling to a different city and losing the hometown fans. Rather than crumbling under the stress, the group rose to the challenge.

The entire group opened with Hooray for Hollywood. The girls performed a medley from the movie Sister Act. The boys closed out the set with a medley from the musical Jersey Boys. It earned them a standing ovation.

After the meeting’s keynote address and other business, they returned with the Pentatonix acapella arrangement of Let it Go and finished with Seize the Day from the musical Newsies. Again, it was a standing ovation, but this time, they were called back to the stage for more applause.

The students noticed throughout the business portion of the meeting, attendees talked and milled around, often not paying attention. That changed when group began their second set.

“We stepped out and it was ‘Oh, it’s the Chamber Choir’ and it got quiet,” said Lydia.

That measure of respect was not lost on the singers.

“It was cool when you saw the Twitter feed. A day or two later they were still posting about it,” said Justin.

The accolades have inspired the group.

“It gets repetitive doing the same thing over and over. So to add something like this is fresh and exciting. It revitalizes the (music) department and broadens scope of what we do,” said Aaron.

They agree that the work was hard, but the payoff was worth it. It has set the stage for many in the group who see music performance in their futures after high school.

“The harder you work, the better you get, the more fun you have. It’s motivation to do better,” said LAnna, referring to Mr. Bunce’s flow chart focusing on the rewards of effort.

Caroline summed it up saying, “I was talking to some girls in the auditorium. They were watching our rehearsal and they were, ‘Oh I want to be a part of this group so bad; you guys have so much fun.'”

Watch a clip from the closing number: