The Californian

Cal’s choir is more than just singing

Jazz+choir+performing+at+the+farewell+concert+on+May+17.+Front+row%3A+Byrd+Mifsud%2C+Hannah+Hall%2C+Kelia+Barrientos%2C+Giovanna+Silva.+Second+row%3A+Asha+Ray+Chaudhuri%2C+Ilene+Morrisette%2C+Himadri+Gupta%2C+Noorain+Patel.+Back+row%3A+Swetha+Sankar%2C+Jordan+Limesand%2C+Maren+Callaway%2C+John+Symank%2C+Alexis+Rauba.+Not+pictured%2C+Ryan+Boyle.
Jazz choir performing at the farewell concert on May 17. Front row: Byrd Mifsud, Hannah Hall, Kelia Barrientos, Giovanna Silva. Second row: Asha Ray Chaudhuri, Ilene Morrisette, Himadri Gupta, Noorain Patel. Back row: Swetha Sankar, Jordan Limesand, Maren Callaway, John Symank, Alexis Rauba. Not pictured, Ryan Boyle.

Jazz choir performing at the farewell concert on May 17. Front row: Byrd Mifsud, Hannah Hall, Kelia Barrientos, Giovanna Silva. Second row: Asha Ray Chaudhuri, Ilene Morrisette, Himadri Gupta, Noorain Patel. Back row: Swetha Sankar, Jordan Limesand, Maren Callaway, John Symank, Alexis Rauba. Not pictured, Ryan Boyle.

Photo by Liam Siu

Photo by Liam Siu

Jazz choir performing at the farewell concert on May 17. Front row: Byrd Mifsud, Hannah Hall, Kelia Barrientos, Giovanna Silva. Second row: Asha Ray Chaudhuri, Ilene Morrisette, Himadri Gupta, Noorain Patel. Back row: Swetha Sankar, Jordan Limesand, Maren Callaway, John Symank, Alexis Rauba. Not pictured, Ryan Boyle.

Anne Syed, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Walk into Cal High’s choir room any day during lunch and it’s filled with kids smiling and composing quick melodies.

“The goal for the class is to make beautiful music, approach all things with thoughtfulness and care, take individual accountability for your learning and your role as a member of the team and move some audiences,” said choir teacher Nicholas Patton. 

There are three different levels of choir classes at Cal: concert, treble and chamber. The main difference between these classes are the number of parts divided within each class. 

Concert choir is the most basic level of choir and doesn’t require an audition. 

Large groups of students gather and learn skills throughout the year that help them find their sound. They begin in two to three part music, ending the year in a four part. 

Treble is the intermediate level of choir that sings in the higher vocal register. 

Currently, treble choir is a group of only women, who sing from three to six parts vocally. This group is a little more selective than concert choir since it does require an audition.  

Chamber choir is the highest level of choir where the students sing an array of songs, from classical to jazz. These students start in a four part and end the year being in a seven to nine or ten part harmony. To be in chamber choir, an audition is required. 

Part of chamber choir is jazz choir, the group students see performing at rallies. Jazz choir requires a second audition. It’s the most demanding level of choir since the jazz choir practices are after school. 

The ideal student for choir is someone who’s excited to learn music, works hard, and is ready to learn, make mistakes, and improve. For students who still experience a little stage fright, concert choir is the best place to start since they usually perform in large groups. 

But choir takes a lot more than just singing. Each individual is part of a group and has to adjust their sounds to the rest of the choir. Along with learning how to harmonize, the classes learn music theory, sight singing skills, foreign language skills, and develop rhythmic ability. 

“In choir, you learn how to blend in with others voices,” said treble choir member Mihika Gokarn, a junior. “So you have to pay close attention to the tone of other people and adjust your voice to their volume and dynamics.” 

The higher the level of choir, the more commitment is needed. Students take a few hours a week to practice outside of school and stay on top of memorizing their songs along with other classwork. 

“Besides knowing the notes for your part, you also have to know the different rhythms, the emotional aspect, as well as being able to hold your part in different harmonies,” said treble choir member Bailey Drysdale, a junior. 

Although the class can be a little difficult and fast paced, choir students think the experience is worth it. 

“Choir has made me grow individually by pushing me to be accountable for myself because the only person that really makes a difference is me,” said chamber choir member Lindsey Lee, a junior.

Students of all ranges have joined this class because of how fun it is. The family aspect in the class makes choir even more enjoyable for students. 

“The best thing about choir is the family that you make and the community of people around you,” said senior Noorain Patel, who is a member of jazz and chamber choir. “Everyone loves to make music and it’s not only fun and inspiring but you also make incredible friendships with like-minded people.” 

The family aspect is not only seen in chamber choir, but in concert and treble as well. 

“I wouldn’t trade the family atmosphere [in treble choir] for anything,” said Drysdale.

Students say the choir program wouldn’t be where it is at today without Patton, who is completing his fourth year teaching at Cal.

Patton began his singing career at the age of seven when he joined a children’s choir. As Patton got older, he decided to pursue his talent by majoring in vocal performance and teaching at other schools.

“Mr. Patton is a complete goofball and though he jokes a lot we still know when we need to be more serious about learning the music,” said Drysdale. 

Choir students have been showcasing their talent all year. This year, chamber choir attended choir camp, delivered singing valentines to almost every class on campus, and presented a five movement large choral work at their recent farewell concert. 

One of the choir’s favorite songs is the Chanukah Song, which is important to Patton because his high school choir director arranged it for his class. 

“I work really hard throughout the year so that as many people as possible can point to a song we’re singing and say ‘I see myself in this!’” said Patton. “Whether it’s a connection to the poetry, connection to their language and individual culture, or just a connecting to a rocking song that’s a lot of fun or that moves them deeply.” 

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    Senior Issue

    2018 College List

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    Honors Chemistry added

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    District to offer Saturday study sessions

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    New dress code begins next year

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    Michael Brown soars to new heights

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    Student walkouts continue

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    Cal Nicotine use appears on the rise

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    SF hosts Cherry Blossom Festival

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    News

    Gender Sexuality Alliance promotes acceptance

  • Cal’s choir is more than just singing

    A&E

    Props to the Techies

The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Cal’s choir is more than just singing