Four freshman boys tackle challenge of varsity show choir

Being a choir performer demands being in the spotlight for every performance. However, the first Sound System performance for new singers is not in the auditorium with hundreds of audience members. Instead, applicants perform in front of just one or two choir directors. While this can be a nerve-wracking experience, four freshmen boys –Krishaan Vadia, Brock Bailer, Brady Boyce and Cameron Peters– decided to apply.

“I was first and foremost terrified,” Vadia said. “Initially, I didn’t even want to be in the show choir department, but my middle school choir director, Mr. Andersen, convinced me to audition. Not expecting much, I gave it a shot.”

After deciding to pursue choir in high school, the boys had to go through an audition process. This included singing a song of their choice with accompaniment and performing choreography for the choir directors. Last spring, the results, including who was accepted into what choir, were posted online. 

“I was down at Myrtle Beach, and I was finishing up a round of golf with my father. As I had finished up I reached into my golf bag to pull out my phone and saw that I had three text messages from the returning people in Sound System, and my current friend in the same grade as me,” Bailer said. “The people that had reached out to me congratulated me for making Sound System as a freshman. I was elated.”

After the initial excitement of the news, the four began to feel anxiety. 

“To my surprise, I got into Sound System. At first, I was shocked and excited, but very soon the anxiety and fear set in,” Vadia said. “I had no idea how to dance, and I had never been at this type of competition level before. Furthermore, the time commitment was intense. I was nervous that I couldn’t handle how terrifying it was at first.”

The four, who met during middle school choir, soon realized that they were the only freshmen members of Sound System. Vadia made a group message for the boys in order to prepare for being the lone freshmen.

“It’s really awkward being one of the four freshmen in Sound System. All of the upper and underclassmen are older than you and they are more mature than you,” Boyce said. 

These feelings of anxiety were heightened when summer came, and the freshmen prepared to meet their upperclassmen peers for the first time.

“Sound System certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone in terms of socializing,” Vadia said. “When it was time for our first pool party, I staunchly and stubbornly refused to go, scared of being among unfamiliar people and being shunned. However, coaxed out of my introversion by my friends and Sound System family members, I reluctantly went to the parties. The events were fun and exciting, and they helped me interact with others and make many new friends.”

Because of being pushed out of their comfort zones, Vadia, Boyce, Bailer and Peters have bonded not only with each other but with Sound System as a whole.

“I have gotten better at communicating with people now that I’m in Sound System,” Boyce said. Everyone is so nice and fun to talk to.”

“I feel very loved, and the choir shares a kindly, neighborly atmosphere. We feel loved, and we enjoy each other’s company,” Bailer said. “The freshmen have bonded well with each other, and we all have become very tight. Soon we will hopefully continue that trend throughout our lives.”

While the jump from middle school to high school presented social challenges for the boys, they were also forced to adjust to greater expectations for the new choir.

“I noticed that Sound System is quite the commitment, especially for the choreography –weeks with multiple hours of rehearsal,” Bailer said. “Middle school was very easy; now that I’m in Sound System, it’s very prestigious. It’s an honor and a privilege to be accepted into the group of amazing people.”

“When I joined Sound System, I quickly realized that entering a varsity show choir was going to be one of the biggest commitments for my freshman year,” Peters said. “At the beginning of summer when there was a camp for us, I really had a struggle dancing. I was terrible, learning things that were so impossible to me, but I broke this great big barrier that kept me from getting better at what I do well at.”  

Despite these challenges, the four freshmen adopted the work ethic necessary to succeed in Sound System.

Photo contributed

“Of course, the sheer talent in Sound System is immense,” Vadia said. “Although our eighth grade Concert Choir last year was enjoyable and fun, choir for me had taken on a whole new level and meaning to the talent. Besides the obvious, like far better vocals and choreography, this is a varsity choir, after all; the amount of energy, effort and time members of Sound System put into show choir is inspiring and wonderful. Each member is committed to pushing themselves and having the grit is necessary to make one of the top high school show choirs in the nation.”

After their first semester of Sound System, the boys are closer than ever.

“I had a great bond with the other freshmen in middle school, so I knew a lot about them,” Peters said. “We are going to be in a room together for the trip in Orlando and I am just so excited about more bonding experience through three more years.” 

With the start of the competition season this season, the four will get a chance to display the talent –and camaraderie– they’ve developed in Sound System.

“I was, and still am, the most excited to perform our competition show. Even though the other shows are quite fun and exciting to hear about, the thrill of competing with other talented show choirs is unbelievable,” Vadia said. “Everyone in Sound System is so generous and inviting that you almost immediately feel part of a big family. Otherwise, being a freshman in Sound System means you really need to look up to people that inspire you and demonstrate your drive and cohesion with the group as a whole since this is a rare opportunity to have. Overall, it feels great to start right into a varsity choir and to learn complex material that really challenges you to a difficult level.”