Chorus In The Forest


Illustration by Sydney Fener

Vasilia Yordanova

The Upper School choir program left for an overnight retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains on Nov. 13.

Chamber Singers, Bel Canto and Jazz Singers stayed at the Alpine Meadows Retreat Center. All three choirs rehearsed together and also sang in their individual groups.

Chamber Singers President Shanti Hinkin ’22 said she was grateful to have an in-person retreat after singing for virtual performances over Zoom throughout the pandemic.

“Choir is one of those things that was really hard to emulate on Zoom,” Hinkin said. “Singing together and the bond an ensemble can have is something really unique about being in choir. Being in person this year has made choir a special experience, and I am so glad we were able to coordinate a retreat to bring us closer together.”

Jazz Singer and Chamber Singer Isaac Tiu ’24 said it was clear to him even while on the bus to the mountains, that the retreat would be amazing for him and his peers.

“From the start, we were getting to know each other during the bus ride by playing games and singing,” Tiu said. “When we got to the mountains, we had a Jazz Singers rehearsal with some of our favorite songs from the school year.”

Tiu said the retreat was very successful in bonding the three choirs together and improving their individual and collective singing abilities.

“Choir retreat was full of memories [that] we will keep with us throughout the school year,” Tiu said. “Also the room we sang in had beautiful acoustics, and we surprised ourselves with the difference this trip made to how well we sing.”

Chamber Singer Emily Malkan ’23 said she felt closer with her friends in the choirs after having exciting experiences in the mountains they could not emulate in Los Angeles.

“We went on a spontaneous nature walk to explore the forest, which was really awesome,” Malkan said. “Later in the evening we sang and ate together like a family, even with people who were not in the same grade or choir as me. All the choirs had a more unified sound by the end of the retreat.”

Chamber Singers Soprano Section Leader Marine Degryse said retreats are important for solidifying a sense of community among the three choirs.

“Having experienced past choir trips, I know they are really some of the only times we get to be together outside the classroom,” Degryse said. “Therefore retreats give us the perfect opportunity to not be choir students but to be friends who share the same interests and hobbies.”