The choir program is headed by Kathy Eichelberger and Allen Schwamb, the choir teachers at Westminster. Eichelberger explained that they have both decided that for the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year, the concert choir is going to be separated into males and females.
“Boys’ and girls’ voices and learning how to sing are very different in so many ways,” Schwamb said.
He also explained how normally students would just work around their different vocal styles, but they have realized that they want both girls and boys involved in choir to be able to learn to sing in stronger and more in-depth ways and to learn about their own unique vocals.
The choir program currently has two branches (not including the men’s choir and women’s choir). “Concert and chamber are the two main branches of the program,” said Eichelberger.
Chamber choir meets on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, in the morning from 7:00 to 7:50, whereas concert choir will practice second semester during 7th hour when the men’s and women’s choirs will rejoin to form this new concert choir.
The men’s and women’s choirs will be singing different musical pieces more specifically directed for the female and male voice types, but they will also be collaborating at different points over the semester.“Sarkhalo” is one of the songs the women’s choir will perform in the upcoming months. The song is an Arabian piece with gorgeous rhythms.
“When this piece is performed, we plan to put choreography to it since it is such a fun song,” said Eichelberger. The men’s choir will be performing a South African round in the future that has four different parts and that is very difficult but beautiful.”
“The guys will also be singing some really emotional beautiful pieces which will be breaking a stereotype around guys only being able to sing upbeat fun songs,” Schwamb added.
The grand total for this first semester choir students is 70, with 44 girls and 26 boys. Both Eichelberger and Schwamb are excited to expand their students’ vocal abilities and see all the new opportunities for them through this unique training.