Carlmont Choir overcomes difficulties to shine

Performers+thank+helpers+after+the+show.

Robin Peters

Performers thank helpers after the show.

Carlmont Choir worked together to create a memorable performance despite challenges regarding the absence of their choir director, Genevive Tep.

The cabaret show, which runs annually, is mostly student-led, featuring solo artists and small ensembles. Performers choose their own music, as long as it adheres to the general theme, and they learn it on their own time.

“In normal concerts, it’s a set repertoire, but for this one, you have the freedom to actually pick your own song and wear whatever you want,” said Eric Zhai, the co-president of the Choir Council.

In an effort to give students a chance to perform, parent volunteers helped with decorating, working with sound equipment, and running things backstage. Experienced committee members were able to run the show with minimal issues. 

“I think everybody was kind of doing different functions; the parent volunteers were helping with food and kind of helping with the audience stuff. It’s teamwork,” said Heather Mannion, a parent volunteer. “Everybody did different parts of it, which kind of is what made it all ultimately work.” 

Students and performers also worked together to help the show run smoothly backstage by helping to usher the audience in or working in the Carlmont Technical Theatre Association (CTTA). 

“Putting the thing on itself, that was students. Whether it be the kids from CTTA or the kids that are the kids within the Choir Council or just all the kids themselves, everybody stepped up,” Heather Mannion said. 

Everyone, especially the co-presidents of the choir council, helped create the best show possible for the audience as everyone took on the responsibility of their roles. 

“Our council presidents really stepped up in their positions,” said Darcy Pelham, a performer, regarding Emily Mannion and Zhai.

Organizers hoped that the show would bring together both the local community and students across the choir, creating an environment in which all students can feel safe and comfortable.

“The showcase gets a lot of really passionate kids about music, who are willing to put themselves out there and create that kind of community. The nervous energy of performing alone creates a bond, so, I think that strengthens the choir community,” said Emily Mannion, the co-president of the Choir Council. 

Performers were looking forward to numerous things about the show, but they were mainly excited about the opportunity to make connections with other choir kids around campus.

“It’s a really fun event and it brings a lot of people together so I wanted to be part of it. I’m excited to meet new people, like the bonding that comes through shows,” said Alexia Nyholm-Goncalves, a performer. 

Behind the scenes, performers worked both apart and during school time to perfect their repertoire and put on the best show possible. Soundchecks during the week of the show took place during choir periods Wednesdays and Thursdays, including a two-hour-long combined rehearsal before the show.

Many parent volunteers also contributed to the success of the show by helping with pizza runs and ticket sales, including parents whose children had already graduated from Carlmont. 

“We have three alumni parents who come out of the woodwork; their kids had already graduated but they kind of know their way around the theater and were extra help. There were probably about 10, 12 people total helping in various ways,” Heather Mannion said. 

Parent volunteers also tried to help fill in the place of Tep by putting themselves in her shoes.

“I tried to think as Ms. Tep thinks, and one of the things that she would usually have done is if we had a rehearsal that was immediately after school and then it went right into a performance, she has a category of activities she calls “parent feeding” that parents can volunteer for. So I thought that the current feeding category was like, let’s do some dinner,” Heather Mannion said.

The Carlmont Performing Arts community is greatly impacted by the performance as it showcases the talent on the Carlmont campus.

“I think the stronger these individual communities get at Carlmont, of performing arts, including drama, instrumental music, and dance, the easier it will be and the better the general arts program at Carlmont is because each one of those programs is so individually strong,” Emily Mannion said.