A New Addition to New Edition: New student enters CHS choir program; choir students contemplate ways to reduce stress with school, extracurriculars


Shruthi Ravichandran

New Edition rehearses after school as competitions approach next week. Sam Chenoweth, associate director of choirs, said time management becomes crucial during competition season and prepares members well for the future.

As the third quarter rolls on, most students here only adapt to a new grading period, but some, like sophomore Ian Wang, must adjust to a new school as well.

For Wang, who transferred from North Central, the adjustment has been particularly acute as he has also joined New Edition, a CHS show choir.

“Back at North Central, I was in Counterpoints, which is the top choir at North Central. So when I transferred, I was like, ‘I want to keep doing choir,’” Wang said. “I emailed the directors and they were like, ‘Yeah, you can come in for a real quick audition,’ so I auditioned for them and I got put in New Edition.”

Shruthi Ravichandran
Ian Wang, New Edition member and sophomore, rehearses during SRT. The carrots are props for their set, which is based off bunnies.

According to Sam Chenoweth, associate director of choirs, it’s rare that students transfer into a show choir mid-year; however, Chenoweth said Wang has been adapting quite well.

“Ian’s awesome. I did not put any expectation of, ‘You have to learn our whole show in three weeks and be ready to go,’” Chenoweth said. “I just said, ‘As much as you can learn, great, and we’ll go from there,’ and he’s taken a lot of initiative and figuring things out and being ready to roll.”

Wang added that he has generally avoided the stress that can come with transferring to a new school through managing his time as well as going to practice for New Edition quite often during SRT.

Even for the veteran show choir students, the third quarter is a challenge, as competitions become a much more common occurrence. This competition season was scheduled to begin Feb. 16 and will continue tomorrow at Lafayette High School, with additional events throughout the late winter and early spring.

According to Sarah Konrad, Accents member and sophomore, rehearsals can get a lot more intense around this time.

“We’ve brought back all of our choreographers to smooth over and gloss everything, and we have to drill every individual section,” Konrad said. “We’re in the trenches right now; it’s a lot of heavy grunt work. We get stopped by the directors like every five seconds, it’s just kind of like the grind, you know. Always on the grind.”

As for Wang, he said having a relaxed mindset and scheduled breaks has helped him a lot.

“I’m not stressed at all. I’m just generally a laid-back person, so I don’t take it too seriously,” Wang said. “I like playing video games a lot, but I do not play on the weekdays. I just save that all for the weekend. Like on Saturday, I just do whatever I want…Saturday is basically my day of rest.”

Konrad said she has found time management to be an important aspect of her life since she joined show choir, especially as she has had to balance AP classes, seven clubs and the after-school Accents rehearsals.

“You just have to manage your time well. If you have an hour here or there, you have to use it,” Konrad said. “You’ve got to just put down the phone sometimes, stay away from texting your friend and just grind. Focusing on just one thing at a time really helps. Just don’t be like, ‘I have to do this, I have to do this.’ Just focus on what you’re doing now, go to the next thing, and you get things done a lot faster.”

Shruthi Ravichandran
Wang plays “Heart and Soul” on the piano for fun. He also practiced the set songs for this season.

Chenoweth said while show choirs certainly become more intense during the third quarter, the schedule is generally manageable for students who plan out their time well.

“For (the show choirs), honestly the biggest way (they can help themselves with time management) is knowing they have the calendar from May of the previous year,” Chenoweth said. “They know exactly what to expect; there’s no surprises or anything, so they can budget their time as needed. It’s also nice that it’s third quarter so that they have the first half of the year to get ready and in the mindset for busy third quarter.”

Chenoweth admitted that the choir program can get intense, but he also said it might actually be a benefit rather than a disadvantage.

“The intense part (is a good thing), because when you leave these walls of CHS and go to do whatever you’re going to do in life, it doesn’t get any easier,” Chenoweth said. “The challenge of school plus something else that’s going on is a good life preparation.”

Konrad said even if show choir can bring stress, the benefits of the program outweigh any negatives.

“I think (show choir is) worth it, because it’s an all-in-one experience. There’s the academic side to it—you do get a full-weight (class), and you also do get a (Physical Education) II credit for it, which is really nice. You can build friendships, especially with upperclassmen,” Konrad said. “And it’s really rewarding, because you put all this work in, but you do get a final product that you can be proud of at the end.”

In the end, the stress of third quarter may just come down to mindset, whether students are veterans like Konrad or new like Wang.

“I mean, it’s a little time-consuming,” Wang said, “but that’s fine as long as you have the passion for it.”