Choir students train with Disney studio singer

Photo courtesy of Dr. Desiree Balfour

By Joel Ayala & Jeremy Torres

The choir classes recently went on a field trip to Disneyland where they received some once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Along with experiencing the magic of Disneyland’s California Adventure, students worked with a Disney studio singer and were also able to record themselves singing as if they were backup vocals for a Disney track.

“Students had the experience of being a professional studio musician, which exposed students to a singing career field and prepares them to toggle between many genres and styles such as classical, broadway, jazz, or contemporary pop music,” choir teacher Dr. Desiree Balfour said.

During the field trip, students began with a workshop in Downtown Disney where the studio vocalist worked with them.

They were also taken to a professional recording studio. Students were given a short period of time to learn a piece of a Disney song. Then they recorded themselves singing along with the video.

“It was fun working with the headphones and the mics. It was like a whole new experience being in a recording studio,” junior Lora Rodriguez said. Rodriguez is a part of the show choir, honors choir, and one of the acapella choirs on campus.

In their choir classes, students are actively working on their sight reading skills, which is the art of looking at a piece of music notation and making the sounds. At Disneyland the studio singer works with students to help further improve on their sight reading skills. Choir students were only given the opportunity to sight read through the music once or twice before having to record in the studio.

The studio singer discussed with students the importance of being confident. Students learned how to adapt to the environment of a professional recording studio. They also learned how sensitive the microphones are and how professional click tracks account for tempo changes.

“I gained an understanding of how fast-paced the music industry is. It was fun working with the headphones and the mics. It was like a whole new experience being in a recording studio,” Rodriguez said

“We definitely experienced how fast and efficiently studio musicians should work,” Rodriguez said.

At the workshop the studio singers discussed the necessity of being able to sound like different characters by altering their tones. This often feels like singing brand new music on the spot.
Show choir does three competitions and at least one festival each year. There are adjudicators who give them gradings based on their performances.

Being able to attend events like the Disneyland workshop gives the students an advantage over other performing peer groups. Students are able to fine tune their skill sets that will go on to help with their performances at competitions and festivals.

This is the second year the choir classes have been able to attend the Disneyland workshop.

“These trips allow students to have time to bond and form a full-choir family where everyone feels comfortable to fully express themselves,” Balfour said.

Being comfortable expressing themselves is especially important for their upcoming festival next month.

To prepare for the festival, four Los Angeles Master Chorale singers will be joining the choirs to work with their music.

Then the choirs will perform at the Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 28. This is a prestigious festival that showcases the true talent of our many choirs.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper