The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Carlmont choir students navigate audition stress

Heidi Poole
Students walk towards the choir room on the day of their audition. Nerves are high, but so is excitement. “I’m definitely scared, but I’m pretty prepared, so I think I will do alright,” said sophomore Jacob Reed, a student auditioning for choir.

Nervousness, excitement, hope.

That’s what many students felt as they went through the choir audition process.

As students choose their schedules for the upcoming school year, the auditions will determine what choir group students are placed into. Referred to as placement assessments, the auditions went throughout March.

“This is not whether or not you are going to get in. This is just a placement. Everybody still gets to sing,” said Genevieve Tep, the Carlmont choir director.

A few things students are assessed on during their audition include scales and singing a passage that a student has never seen before.

“People have to sing a solo; we do a compulsory solo by Mozart called “Dona Nobis Pacem,” sight reading, tonal memory, scales and triads, and a range check,” Tep said.

Then, Tep will form the new rosters of each choir. They usually come out a week after the audition.

Carlmont has four different choirs, all at various levels. Highlanders is for all students wanting to start choir with little to no experience, meaning no audition is required.

Concert Choir is the next level, and students automatically get placed into this choir after completing a year of Highlanders, or they can audition for it if they did not participate in Highlanders the year prior. On the other hand, the highest levels, Treble Clef, and Chamber Singers, do require auditions for all students.

The auditions are one-on-one with the choir director, so naturally, students may feel stressed or nervous during their auditions. Their nerves often affect their singing ability, so Tep tries to make the audition as low-stress as possible for students and allows them to take their time.

“Sometimes people are nervous, and they might need to take a couple of breaths, and I just give them time to do it,” Tep said.

Many students find that when they are nervous, Tep makes their audition feel a lot less stressful by giving them time and making them feel content.

“Mrs. Tep made my audition feel comfortable, but I was still a bit nervous. It felt like a normal conversation with her,” said Chloe Zhao, a sophomore at Carlmont.

Another stressful aspect is the number of students auditioning compared to the number of available spots. There have been fewer auditions than usual in the past few years due to the pandemic, but numbers are starting to increase again.

“I usually hear about 80-100 auditions, and that is about what I heard this year. So we are kind of getting back to pre-pandemic numbers,” Tep said.

These posters have been posted across campus to advertise the choir’s trip to New York in the 2024-2025 school year (

Similarly, since the choir is back to how it was before the pandemic, they are back to their annual choir tours. This year, they went to Southern California.

In March 2025, the choir is going to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall, which has been advertised on posters around campus.

“It’s going to be so fun, especially since we’ll be flying there and watching Broadway shows,” said sophomore Jacob Reed.

While the trip might not encourage students to audition, more people are still registering for choir for the upcoming school year.

“I hope it’s encouraging kids to sign up because it is going to be a really cool opportunity next year,” Tep said.

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About the Contributor
Heidi Poole
Heidi Poole, Staff Writer
Heidi Poole (Class of 2026) joined the journalism program this year where she primarily covers local news. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with friends, playing guitar, and biking.

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