The FHC choir is a community that invites openness


Sean Ivory

The Central Singers at one of their recent performances

The video game JustDance is an incredibly entertaining way to pass time, not only because it is fun to participate in, but also because it is simply hilarious to watch. Even a professional dancer playing JustDance would end up looking ridiculous, let alone a full-time teacher.

Nonetheless, choir director Sean Ivory is not afraid to make a fool of himself, as he participates fully in each and every JustDance session that his choir classes concoct.

“Concert Choir, this year, really wanted to do JustDance videos on YouTube,” Ivory said, “so I have been participating in that as well. We do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays for about five minutes; we’ll put a song on and we’ll all dance. I’m terrible at it, so I frequently get made fun of by my students, but it’s all good—they’re right. It’s been fun to move together and goof around for a few minutes.”

Activities such as this are what make choir what it is today, and each of the four choir classes taught at FHC has their own traditions and community. Concert Choir is made up of freshmen and is the entry-level choir at FHC. Treble Chorus is made up of mostly sophomores and only contains soprano and alto singers—the two highest voices. Chorale Choir is the top, non-auditioned choir and is mostly juniors and seniors, and last but not least, there’s the Central Singers, which meets during zero hour and is the only auditioned choir in the school.

Each of these choirs differ not only in their skill level but also in the community that they create. Although the freshman choir knows each other from middle school, they are still getting to know Ivory and the FHC choir culture as a whole. The older choirs, though, have created a rapport throughout the four years they have taken choir together. The community they have created is special to each one of them and to Ivory himself.

“I feel that choir is a place where every person feels valued,” Ivory said. “Whatever differences we have as people—the way we think, our opinions about things—all are welcome, and we get along with each other. We make music together, and it’s really hard to make music with people you have a grudge against. We do talk, we get things out in the open, and I love the open atmosphere in the classroom here.”

Ivory is not the only one who appreciates the openness of the choir culture. Sophomore Eshana Kaur, a member of the Central Singers and the Treble Chorus, loves talking about her life with both her classmates and Mr. Ivory.

“In Treble Chorus, we rant a lot,” Eshana said. “At the beginning of class, [Ivory] lets us talk, so while we’re singing there aren’t interruptions; we get all of our stuff out in the beginning. We tell him random stuff [about our lives]. He’s vital, he’s there for everything, he hears everything—all the drama—and it’s so funny.”

Eshana participates in several other extracurriculars outsides of choir, and although she loves all of them dearly, she said that choir is the easiest because she already has the only tool that she needs: her voice.

Eshana loves to use her voice both in and outside of choir, and learning to use her voice properly was one of the primary reasons that she joined choir in sixth grade.

There are many [benefits of being in choir]. Being in an ensemble teaches you how to be on a team in a non-competitive way and . . . how to cooperate with other people and listen.

— Sean Ivory

“I’ve always liked to sing since I was a kid,” Eshana said. “[Choir] helps because you actually learn how to sing correctly. Pop singers just sing; in reality, they can’t hit high notes correctly and safely. We learn how to do that type of thing, so if I’m singing for fun, I know how to sing properly.”

Eshana is one of several choir students who joined because of a prior love of singing. Another, however, has taken that passion even further than the class. Senior Marissa Lunt—a four-year member of the FHC choir—is in the process of creating an original album.

Marissa plans to go to college for music and pursue it as a career. This passion for music and songwriting started during her childhood, but choir has fostered that love and created a unique and unforgettable community.

“The experience and the community of choir is fun to be a part of,” Marissa said. “We make friendships that we know will last longer than typical friendships. My favorite thing is the community and the friendships that I’ve made, because everyone is pretty close with each other, and they’re not afraid to be themselves.”

Marissa is a member of the Central Singers group, along with Eshana, and she explained that the Central Singers focus on a cappella music and training their voices rather than music theory and history, as the younger choirs do.

As a four-year member of the FHC choir, Marissa has matured with her fellow classmates, and her choir experience has as well.

“[My choir experience] has changed because each year that I take choir, I’m learning a lot more,” Marissa said, “and I’m taking the basis of the knowledge that I have and the friendships out into the world. I feel like the classes haven’t changed, but rather I have changed as a person because I have learned to be more appreciative of other people. I’ve learned to take time and invest myself into the things I really enjoy because the result of it makes me happy.”

Choir is important in the lives of every student that participates in it, whether in Concert Choir as a freshman, Treble Chorus, Chorale Choir, or the Central Singers. It creates lasting memories and relationships that can only be found where music is made together.

Each choir puts in hard work every day, and they display this dedication at their concerts each year. Every concert displays different types of music, and everyone in each choir—and Ivory himself—feels acknowledged when people come to support their efforts.

“The music [at our shows] is great,” Ivory said. “[Coming to concerts] supports your fellow FHC Rangers. Concerts are fun, and you’ll learn something about the world since we do a wide variety of music from all over. It’s enjoyable; live music with live people is so much fun to be a part of.”