Raising the Curtain


Emmy Lockhart, Staff Writer

Sitting in the cold, inky blackness of the auditorium, Ruby Anderson awaits the second showing of the choir program’s Pre-Contest Show that she always goes to see with her mother. Anderson enjoys listening to mainstream artists like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles as much as the next person, but when it comes to on-stage performances, that’s the atmosphere she truly adores.

“Theatre and being in shows has been really interesting to me, as well as watching shows and seeing people perform,” Anderson said. “So as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching people perform on stage and just loving it and wanting to be in it and wanting to do it.”

Following this passion, Anderson has paved the way to perform on the very stage she watched so often. As a Junior in both Center Grove Sound System and Center Grove Singers, she now performs for a hopeful audience of 1,195 post-COVID at home shows. Starting in January, she will prepare for competition season with the hopes of performing for thousands more outside of the Center Grove area.

“I know that we didn’t really have a normal competition season last year, but whenever I do go to a competition or perform or anything like that, the atmosphere is so crazy and everybody is in the zone,” Anderson said.

The atmosphere of competitions is based on two things according to Anderson: the performers and the directors.

“You go to competitions and you see choirs that have really talented kids in them, but if the director is not creative, the show can be boring,” Anderson said. “The creativity of Mrs. Dice and Mr. Sanders is insane, and I love that about it.”

While the competitions have an atmosphere of their own, Anderson enjoys the charisma that Sound System brings with them wherever they go. Whether it’s cheering or chanting, she enjoys the uplifting atmosphere almost as much as the encouraging members.

“I think if I didn’t like the people I probably wouldn’t do it because that would be pretty difficult, but everyone is so encouraging and I think that it’s a really great atmosphere,” Anderson said. “I like being in choir and I feel like it’s more my comfort zone out of a lot of things at school and it’s a place where I feel safe.”

Taking comfort in the choir program, Anderson has been able to go to new heights with it. As an upperclassman, there are now newfound responsibilities and opportunities in the program available to her.

“I feel more seen and more like I have a chance for solos. I feel like it’s more responsibility, which can be intimidating, but it’s also exciting,” Anderson said.

As she takes on her third year in the choir program, Anderson has seen major growth in herself as a student, performer, and individual. Being an active member in two choirs allows her to push herself while also giving her an outlet to embrace creativity, persistence, and confidence in her daily life.

“Choir has helped me open up and really find my own. It’s helped me be bolder and find my own stage presence, which I think is really great. Onstage, I definitely feel different now than I would have two years ago, because when you are surrounded by a lot of people who love the same thing, and they want the same thing – they all want to win – it makes you more confident in what you’re doing,” Anderson said.

In addition to her presence in choir, Anderson’s performance as a student has benefitted from her active participation in choir, influencing her motivation and work ethic.

“It’s made me better at going all out. Sometimes when I’m on stage and we’re performing, I’ll think that I can’t do it anymore, but Mrs. Dice is always saying just when you think you can’t do it, you can,” said Anderson. “It also makes me work harder in my classes and not procrastinate, otherwise it would interfere with one of the things I love about high school, which is being in choir.”

With an uplifting nature emanating from both the atmosphere and the members, and a positive influence on her role as both a student and performer, Anderson’s love of the arts has led her to a place of comfort and encouragement. The CG choir program has fueled her artistic personality and determined attitude toward her pursuit of the arts.