Students in Chamber Singers went on their annual retreat to Camp Wrightwood in the Angeles National Forest to practice and get to know each other Sept 16-17.
Upper School Choral Director Eric Gault said that he saw the retreat as an opportunity for members to become more of a community by playing games and going on a hike.
“Just by eating together, by hiking together and by being in a place where we were all as a group together [we were able] to get to know people that we didn’t know and develop friendships and relationships within the group,” Gault said.
Because it is his first year at the school, Gault especially appreciated the chance to get to know his students better and gain a better understanding of Harvard-Westlake as a whole.
“You’re seeing them not just in a classroom environment,” Gault said. “You’re seeing how they talk to their peers while we eat together or laugh together. Those are all important elements of getting to know people. It enabled me to get to know the students much more than in a classroom experience.”
Esther Ollivier ’18, the leader of the second soprano section, said that the retreat was a good opportunity to feel more comfortable around the other choir members.
“Any time you have any kind of overnight thing with people, you just get closer as friends,” Ollivier said. “You feel a lot more comfortable talking with anybody. It makes a good space and a good environment for everyone.”
Ollivier said that her favorite experience from the retreat was a “battle” between the older and younger choir members. Students fought with water guns, chocolate sauce and water balloons.
“It helped us bond because we all had a good time,” Ollivier said. “It gave us a common experience that we could remember and talk about.
Charlie Kogen ’19 said that some of his favorite moments occurred during the downtime between activities.
“Some people brought frisbees and footballs,” Kogen said. “We would play three flags up or something else. It was a good way to bond with my fellow choir mates.”
Gault said that the most important thing for him personally at this retreat was learning how much his students cared about music and singing.
“Since it is my first year, I was really impressed by how students were able to articulate how much music and singing means to them and how the group is so important,” Gault said.