Taking her choral capabilities to a new stage
Senior Anastasia Thompson thought that the process was simpler this year. All you had to do was fill out an application and submit a 30-second video. Simpler, she thought — it was simpler to be a part of the most talented singers in California.
Thompson was accepted into the Alto 1 section of the Soprano Soprano Alto Alto (SSAA) High School All-State Honor Choir, which has two sections of both soprano and alto voices. She was inspired to audition because of her experience in a lower-level Regional Honor Choir last year.
“It was fantastic because all the singers care about it as much as you do,” Thompson said. “We actually got told off for being too loud, which was an interesting thing because usually there’s an issue with getting people to sing in front of others. It was fun to have that problem be reversed.”
In a traditional season, accepted students receive six choral pieces, which they practice individually before coming together in a three-day event that culminates in a performance. This year, all events will be held virtually, whether by online rehearsals or video submissions that will be spliced together into their final performance.
“It’s an exciting experience because the music they give you is at a really high level,” Thompson said. “If [the song] is difficult and takes you a long time to learn, then you actually feel like you’ve done something good when you perform it.”
The number of songs the All-State Honor Choir will perform has been reduced from six to three. Each choir will have two 75-minute online rehearsals with their conductor to practice the repertoire in January and February of 2021.
“I have no idea how well the actual performance or rehearsal is going to go,” Thompson said. “I hope it goes well, but since I don’t know, all that I’m excited about is learning the music because that’s at least the same process [as last year].”
Thompson joined her first choir in elementary school when she was given the choice between choir and band. She continued with choir as an elective in seventh grade and has participated in all different levels of choral groups since then, from Treble Choir in freshman year to Chamber Singers currently.
“I’ve always really enjoyed singing, so it was an obvious choice,” Thompson said. “I’m glad that I can do something extra with choir [because] if I wasn’t a good singer, I wouldn’t be doing any extracurriculars.”
The sense of solidarity when many people sing together is one of the aspects Thompson likes most about choir.
“Sometimes, when you get to the high parts, it sounds like the sopranos are yelling at you,” Thompson said. “I love it because it’s exciting. Sometimes the parts don’t even sing the same words, but I think that makes it really interesting to listen to. Your part might not sound good by itself, but with other parts, it works. I like hearing that combined.”
In college, Thompson plans to continue participating in the school choir, though not pursuing music professionally.
“When I was in middle school, I looked up to all the high school choirs. I thought they were incredible and I was so impressed by them,” Thompson said. “In [All-State Honor Choir], everyone and everything there was really good. I can feel the excitement continued even throughout rehearsal, [which is why] I loved it.”
By Cathy Li, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Anastasia Thompson