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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop


Choir with a little (Ms.) Funk
Choir gazes in shock at Sparty’s singing

This year, the Sentinel choir has changed quite a bit. Douglass Olson, the former director, is teaching at a new school this year, so with Sonja Funk as the new director, the department’s organization has changed.


 It is divided into four main choirs now. Newly the freshmen choirs have been divided into two, a bass and treble choir. The upper-level classes contain an advanced choir, and a pop acapella-style group, the Spartanaires. The choirs have been hard at work to deliver the fall program. 


On October 24, the Spartan Choirs held their fall concert. The show consisted of a set for each choir, and finally, a song with the entire department to finish off the evening. The choral groups were accompanied by piano player Heidi Schnarr, and three members of the Sentinel band program, Andey Weitz on bass, Laura Graves on percussion, and Maxim Kohlberg on percussion as well. 


The first to perform was the Spartaneires, a twelve-voice auditioned choir. The Spartanairs practice during zero period, so they are a dedicated dozen. They opened with a clever reminder: Turn Off Your Phone Song. This song to the tune of Pachelbel’s Canon gave the audience a laugh as they turned off devices to enjoy the show. This was followed by Double Trouble by John Williams. The song was a seasonal choice for Halloween, with the chants of William Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters. They ended with a technical jazzy song, Walk a Mile by Peter Choplin, sung acapella. The group’s strong vocals served as an excellent opener. 


The next choir to sing was Turn UP the Bass. This freshman boys choir highlights the voices often lost in the background otherwise. They started with Aura Lee by George Poulton. This song was a love song about birds, with a classic choir sound. The next tune was a fun Irish folk song, Fillimiooriay. The song about the struggle of railway work was humorous and upbeat. It featured Ricky Rhodes, Lane Brazada, and Brennan Mocko as soloists. 


Nothin’ but Treble was the third choir up. Their first song was Bring Me Little Water Silvy, a classic folk song with body percussion. The next selection, Juntos, was accompanied by Laura Graves on drums and had a special message Funk wanted to share about unity. The song by Jim Papoulis is partially in Spanish, but the message is made clear beyond language barriers as the singers hold hands in unity. They finished up the set with For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter. This lovely ode to the world and life was written as a song of praise with beautiful vocals and an important message.


The Advanced Choir was the last individual choir to perform. Funk opened by saying, “I’m having them take a deep breath before we talk about doom,” with a laugh as they prepared for their first song, Dies Irae by Ryan Main. The song, sung in Latin, held a dramatic sound with technical layers and lovely crescendos. Their next song, Earth Song by Frank Ticheli was a delicate, dreamy, yet somber song about the pain of the Earth’s destruction. The song ended with a beautiful call to peace. The final song of the Advanced choir was I Will Sing You the Stars, by Marc Burrows. A twinkling piano accompaniment backed the song, and the message of love for a child as they grow was felt. The Advanced Choir did a fantastic job, and their hard work and talent were apparent in the technicality and sound of their pieces. 


To wrap up the program, all four choirs combined for one last performance, I Sing Because I’m Happy. This joyful song had a full sound with every choir bringing their talent. It was accompanied by Maxum Kohlberg on the drumset. The choir danced to the music, radiating the tone of the song, which highlighted the talents of each group of students. 


The students in the choir program have worked hard. In an interview, Lauren Dagget, a senior in the advanced choir, talked about the challenge of the fall in adjusting. Having a new director is a big shift, but Lauren says “I like how Ms. Funk is very precise with her directing.” Once they learned the songs things came naturally, and Lauren was able to see the group improve.

I feel like the group grew together a lot in the past few months. We’re all working together better and that’s really nice

— Lauren Daggett



Patience Matt, a Junior, is also in the advanced choir. She enjoys the community in choir, and how they help each other through any difficulties. Patience talks about the process of getting ready for a concert. “The hardest part of getting ready for concerts is nerves. A lot of times anxiety can really affect breath support, so before we go on stage I’ll remind myself to breathe.” Similarly to Lauren, Patience says, “I love polishing the music and having fun with the people in choir.” 


Solill Maughn is another senior in the advanced choir. She talks about the limited time to practice, and the focus essential for students to prepare. She enjoys the high energy of the choir right before a performance. Solill’s favorite moment before each concert is when a member of the choir gives a speech to hype everyone up. Solill is a proponent of the choir’s new leadership. She says with confidence, “Ms. Funk knows what she’s doing and has amazing talent in both singing and directing.” The choir is strong because it holds a sense of community and is led by a strong director. 


The hard work students put in this quarter shined through in their fall program. The choir’s dedication over the weeks has allowed them to improve vastly. The community of the choir is loving and enjoys their art. Ms. Funk directed her students well to give a successful and meaningful concert. I look forward to seeing what else this lovely group has to bring this year. 

About the Contributor
Lizzie Mills-Low, Reporter