Musicians form vocal groups, sing for charities

By Jessica Lee

Karen Kim ’12, Devon Breton-Pakozdi ’12 and Elana Meer ’13 performed at multiple venues this summer, helping the sick.

Kim is the creator and vocal head of A Tempo, an ensemble of high school vocalists and instrumentalists. She was inspired by an experience with the Harvard-Westlake Community Singers and decided to establish this group toward the end of her junior year. The ensemble consists of 23 members, and its repertoire ranges from classical to modern rock.

Many of the members of A Tempo attend different schools, so due to conflicting schedules, the group is split into teams. Every member practices independently until group recitals are scheduled. With a set repertoire and carefully planned individual practices, Kim expects rehearsals to be efficient and effective even during the school year.

“As a solo singer and a chorister, it’s exciting to know that I’ve brought joy into someone’s life by doing something I enjoy,” Kim said. “Overall, A Tempo is an ensemble that unites those who have a passion for music, and I see something truly good coming out of it.”

“Besides the teamwork and effort that characterize the whole group, my favorite part of being a member of A Tempo is the opportunity to have my arrangements and compositions performed on a regular basis,” Breton-Pakozdi said. “That’s such a rare opportunity for a high-school or even a collegiate composer to have, and I’m truly blessed to have it.”

Two years ago, due to her interest in medicine, Meer attended an orientation at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she learned of various areas of medical community service. She decided to volunteer and apply for the Music for Healing program and has been involved in this area of service as a vocalist performer. Meer performed for patients on an average of six hours a week. Music for Healing was established three years ago and has since flourished into a model program that strives to provide comfort, assistance and hope for hospitalized patients, Meer said.

“These patients are at their weakest, both emotionally and physically,” Meer said. “But I know I’ve made a significant difference when my patients say my performance reminded them of a loved one or of a memorable event. What I enjoy the most is the bonding and mutual interaction I have with my audience. I have conversations with my patients, and they give me invaluable words of wisdom. It is really a unique and unforgettable experience that I can’t get anywhere else.”