Music to your ears


Surabhi Srivastava

The 09-10 Variations class has a lot to live up to this year after the spectacular run 08-09 Variations had.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do! The Sound of Music sure made singing seem easy for us shower-rockstars, but the adept vocalists of MVHS Variations Choir know better.
There is so much that goes into music: reading music notes, matching keys and pitches, finding your section and expressing emotions. And this year, the group is encountering slight difficulties in meeting these requirements.

“Some people never got immersed in that musical experience, so it is going to be a little bit harder for them,” senior Catherine Shieh said.
More than half of the class is new. All the girls are seniors—half of whom are in Variations for their first year—and the majority of the boys are newcomers.
Some members are finding the change in levels of experience difficult. Junior Joshua Ding, a talented veteran of Variations, is having trouble adapting to the differences of this year’s group versus the previous years.

Variations 2008-2009 take a moment to pose for group pictures before one of their many concerts of the year. Photo Courtesy of Reva Bhatt. “This year, we could [face] a little bit more challenge,” junior Saurabh Deo said. “Last year’s group had so many seniors and this year we have more new people.” Deo is a newcomer to Variations this year, and is still learning how to adapt to the fast paced environment of Variations.

The variations class of 2008-2009 set the bar sky-high for the coming year. They won the gold medal last year at the Harvest Festival competition that qualifies them to perform in a festival in New York later this year. But they’re going to have to work on some aspects of music in order to live up to what the previous year’s class earned. Reading music is one of the biggest challenges so far this year. The new students are not as familiar with the music notations as the previous members of Variations were.
“A lot of people can’t read music as well, but they are more enthusiastic,”Ding said.” This year wasn’t based on musical talent I think.”

Shari D ‘Epiro, the Variations teacher, has a very straightforward and specific way of selecting the applicants for the group. She has a point system in which each applicant is awarded points in different categories such as level of preparation for tryout, pitch, diction, presentation, years in previous choirs and so on. The students with the highest scores are selected. Contrary to common belief, personality does not take precedence over musical talent; when it comes down to the decision, they have to be a singer first, a model citizen second.

“They have a lot to live up to,” D’Epiro said. “They are off to a really great start and I can’t wait to see how the year goes”.