The Chorus Competition

Posted by Sofia Hrycyszyn on 5/16/2018

            Jingshan school has a yearly cultural festival where students compete in and perform things like calligraphy, dance routines, and English skits. One such competition was the choral one, where each class sang a required song and one of their choice. The groups were student organized and run. It took a lot of preparation, planning, and practice to make sure the class sounded great and looked professional.

I was lucky enough to be a part of my class’s chorus so I got to see not only the competition itself, but a look behind the scenes on all the work that went into it. A few girls in my class took over and chose songs, conducted, played instruments, and lead practice. Even after seeing how much effort those girls put into the songs, I was still super impressed by how good we sounded and that everybody could sing. I know that if I had to sing a song with one of my classes in America, it wouldn’t go nearly as well.

In China, music class is required, so kids learn how to read music and sing as part of a chorus, among other things. The students in my class were literally given sheets of music and were expected to learn the songs by themselves. The Americans in my class were given sheet music too, but we struggled to learn it by ourselves so some students spent a lot of time teaching us.

I really enjoyed performing during the concert. I hadn’t sung on stage or with a group in years and climbing onto the risers felt the same as it did back in middle school. The conductor conducted the same way. The stage lights were just as hot. The room just as large. I felt the same rush of excitement and nervousness stepping in front of so many faces. I think participating in the chorus competition brought me closer to my classmates and while singing I felt a similar connection to them as I have with chorus groups in the past. I had forgotten how much fun it is to show so many attentive people something you enjoy and something you’ve worked hard on.

Performing in the chorus competition was a total throwback, but there were also some big differences. In middle school we performed concerts every once in a while on songs we had been working on for months. My class in Jingshan performs once a year and worked on the songs for a few weeks. In Newton, we were never judged or critiqued, but during the competition my class’s score was made public. While occasionally students conducted or arranged music in middle school, we had a teacher do pretty much all of the instruction and organization, whereas at Jingshan everything was student run.

I loved participating in and watching the chorus competition. I was blown away by the results and the amount of effort the students put in was obvious. It was also really nice to be back on stage, especially in a slightly different environment.