Choir Tours California Campuses

Genie Lee, Editor

Chamber and Bel Canto choir groups toured colleges and local high schools in Southern California from April 11-15.

Choir instructor Mark Roberts said that the purpose of the annual choir tour is “for the students to see what the next step looks like: should they join choir in college, and also get a sense of what else is out there musically speaking and at these particular colleges?”

The group visited 3 colleges during the trip: San Jose State University, California State University Fullerton, and Long Beach City College. All of the schools on the tour “have really robust choral programs,” according to choir teacher Mark Roberts.

These colleges were chosen in particular because “they’re schools that our students might potentially be looking at to go to,” said Roberts. “I also had professional connections with some of the directors at those institutions, but also it was mostly about the quality of music that the institutions and teachers produced.”

Senior Frenel Francisco said, “My top college was Long Beach and seeing them helped me want to go there more. They’re an inspiration and it was really cool to interact with them and see what they had to offer.”

The trip also made stops at select high schools. Junior Natalie Davis said, “We went to one high school called Los Alamitos; they were a show choir, so they do more of pop and Broadway style music.”

According to Davis, show choir incorporates acting and dance moves. “It also has a brighter tone to try to direct the audience to a main focus; it’s literally a show. In contrast, in our music, you’re paying attention to the whole sound, and the sound is the music and not necessarily the appearance of how it is presented,” she said. “It was very eye opening to see that not every high school does art music like we do. And since we’ve never seen a show choir before, it was really cool for us to see this is what other students the same age are doing. They still consider it choir, but it’s not what we consider choir.”

At Long Beach and San Jose campuses, students learned from the college instructors. “We got a chance to work with their directors, and their directors could provide feedback to the singers on how they thought they could make our songs better,” said Roberts.

“We only see Mr. Roberts every day so we only get his opinion and maybe between ourselves, but to be able to get feedback from other directors, we definitely got a new taste of what we should be doing or what other people like as an audience,” said Davis.

Francisco said that the experience helped him “get to know” classmates and “get closer with them,” and he enjoyed meeting new students both in the collegiate and high school choirs. “It was definitely a new experience and something we can all take home with us,” he said.