As Half Notes workshop approaches, choir members reflect on leadership roles within performing arts community

Avery Carlisle

Erin Gordon, Ambassadors member and senior, said she grew up surrounded by choir because her older brother was involved with it throughout his high school years. 

She said, “When I was little, I was not the biggest fan of the choir. I did general music for most of middle school. My older brother was in Ambassadors when I was little, so I got (interested) when I saw him performing his show choir sets and then I was like, ‘Oh, this seems like  something that I would want to do too.’” 

Now, Gordon is becoming that role model to other young children through the Half Notes workshop hosted by the Ambassadors choir. 

According to director of choirs Kathrine Kouns, the Half Notes workshop is an important part of exposing children to the performing arts program at this school.

inspiring notes:
Choir members pose during the Accents’ Princess Academy 2019. These members often inspire others to join the performing arts. Senior Erin Gordon (center) said she enjoys the choir community and participates in some of the choir workshops. (submitted photo: Erin Gordon)

She said, “(The children) work side-by-side with some of the Ambassadors students and they learn a song and dance just for fun and they have a pizza party for dinner. Then we’ve arranged it with the athletics department so that they all get into the (basketball) game for free.”

Nate Koss, Ambassadors  member and senior, said he enjoys working with the younger children and recognizes the importance of mentoring. 

“I think it is really important to expose kids to the performing arts because there are a bunch of other activities that you’re exposed to at a young age and I think that music is just such a cool thing and a way to connect with a bunch of people,” he said. “Especially at Carmel with our program, I think there’s just a really good sense of community.” 

Gordon said she agreed these events are a good way to introduce children into the choir community. 

“Giving (the children) these miniature day-long experiences can give a view into the community choir. (That’s) because you get to meet friends that you might see at the high school,” she said.

For years, the choir program  has made sure to involve younger children with many events including Princess Academy, which is an Accents-led event for children from ages four to eight. In the summer, they host Summer Spectacular Show Choir Camp, a week-long camp for children in grades five to eight. In January, they host the Half Notes workshop.

“We’ve started (these) events over the last couple of years that are specifically targeting younger kids to make sure they feel included and that they start to get the idea of not just what we do in Carmel Choirs, but just the love of singing and making music from a young age,” Kouns said. “We try to rotate through the program of which choir ensemble is going to be the main leader or mentor for each event so that no one ensemble is completely exhausted but also so that the students that are coming in are working with other kids.” 

Gordon said the summer camp helped her decide if she was going to do show choir in high school and said she believes it does impact children who are going through the consideration process.

sense of community:
Select Sound members (left to right)senior Nate Koss, senior Anne Conway and junior Allie Rosenfeld perform the song “This is My Wish” during Holiday Spectacular. According to Kouns, Carmel Choirs has a reputation for providing a sense of community. The choir offers a wide variety of performances, workshops and camps for members. (submitted photo: Nate Koss)

She said, “I think our show choir camp really helps kids get involved. I know that’s what I did when I was little and it definitely helped me not only get familiar with the directors, (but) I was also able to meet them and also meet other people from other schools. That helped me launch into it. And especially as someone that was not a good dancer, being in those camps and having those opportunities really helped me a lot.” 

Koss said that students should encourage any younger children they know to get involved in the performing arts program even if they don’t seem as interested as others. 

Koss said, “I’ve seen from the previous workshops that I’ve done with Half Notes that even though (some children) come in with this negative mindset of being like, ‘Oh, performing arts, it’s really weird,’ by the end, they’re just loving it and most of the time they just decide to just continue on that path.”