the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

A rise to Chamber Choir excellence

Explore Calvin Chen’s journey through tangible and vocal music.
Photo by Daniel Lee
Senior Calvin Chen performs a solo to a small crowd in a classroom.

As a chorus of harmonious voices echo off the classroom walls, senior Calvin Chen sings along with the other students in Chamber Choir. 

Chen has been in orchestra playing violin for the last three years, but he also demonstrates his musical ability through piano and choir. Even though Chen is a senior, this is his first year auditioning into Chamber Choir, which is the highest level of choir.

“There’s something poetic about being able to convey your emotions not necessarily through an instrument, but through the one that you have in your body,” Chen said. “I guess there’s a closer spiritual connection to the emotions that you have and your ability to convey them is unique in a way that you can’t really express through a physical instrument.” 

After a solo that went south in fifth grade, he experienced a “mental block,” according to Chen, that pushed him away from his love for singing. But after Chen participated in a senior choir with his grandmother every Saturday, he was able to process through that mental block step by step, slowly rebuilding his self esteem. Chen decided to make the most of his last year of high school by overcoming his fears and joining choir. 

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“As cliche as this sounds, failure, especially failure in front of other people is something that you will encounter regardless and that’s what’s important. I guess one of my regrets is not overcoming the trauma of that stage fright and not joining choir in middle school or at the start of high school,” Chen said. “Moving forward, I want to make sure that even if I fail, I won’t let that keep me down for too long.”

Chamber Choir requires many advanced skills such as sight reading, which is the reading and performing of pieces that the performer has not seen before.  

“Especially when jumping into Chamber Choir, I was shocked at the speed with which you have to learn the music. For example, sight reading, which I have always been lacking regardless of singing, piano or violin,” Chen said. “You have to go on with it and not to mention the fact that you are singing with, in my case, 20 other people and you have to make sure that you don’t make the rest of the group sound bad.”

Despite the challenges he has faced in Chamber Choir, Chen has found many opportunities within the class to form deep bonds with his peers. 

“The thing with only singing with 20 pupils is that everybody’s very close-knit and even though I’ve only been in this group for two or three months, everybody has been so welcoming and I have personally been able to be vulnerable. Even though the music itself is transient, the process of creating and getting to be on a stage, being able to perform with your friends is a bond that I personally feel that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Chen said.

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About the Contributor
Lydia Chen, Staff writer
Hi, my name is Lydia Chen. I am a freshman staff writer for The Hoofprint. I have been dancing for almost 10 years, and I am currently on the WHS dance team. During my free time, I enjoy watching movies with my family and riding bikes. One fun fact about me is that I am a middle child with one older brother and one younger brother.
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