Choir teacher Ken Foley has had to make cuts to the Choraliers for next year due to the increasing amount of people enrolling in choir. About 50 students were cut from the choir and some of those cut were already in Choraliers this year. There are approximately 150 people left in that choir alone. Those cut can still remain in the Varsity choir if they choose. According to Foley, the number of kids enrolling in choir classes has gone up significantly within the past three years.
“When I got here there were about 275 students in the whole program and this coming year there will be about 400 and it just keeps growing,” Foley said. “The freshmen class has especially grown; my first year there was 63 freshmen, second year there were 90 and this year 118 so as those numbers keep growing throughout the classes, the choir just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
He says the fact so many kids want to be a part of choir is a great thing, but a choir with too many people can’t function because there is not enough space nor can students feel like they are really a part of the choir.
“You don’t want to have a choir of 200,” Foley said. “And if you are going to put them together, you want to have all that rehearsal time together.”
The process that he goes through determining who to eliminate all comes down to being a good choir citizen, he said.
“I expect students to sort of police themselves as far as behavior and some people are able to do that better than others,” Foley said. “If you do what you are supposed to do on a daily basis then you will make a great contribution to the choir. If you are not, then you are not making as good of a contribution to the choir and I want those people in there who are making a full contribution.”
The toughest part about deciding who will stay and who will go, said Foley, is when it comes to those who have been in Choraliers already as juniors.
“I am going to have to eliminate people that are generally decent choir members but maybe not as engaged and focused as they can be,” Foley said. “I know that it is going to be really disappointing because of the trip to Italy next year and those in it that were counting on that. I just have to make my best judgment for what is best for the whole choir program and for those 400 people.”
Foley suspects that the overall quality of the choirs will rise because the standards have now been set higher.
“The quality is just going to go up because the people in there understand that if they want to achieve the level of getting into Choraliers at some point either their junior or senior year, they have to really honker down and do what they are suppose to do, which means that all the choirs are going to be better,” Foley said. “From freshmen choir and on they are all going to be charging forward to try to do their best so that they can be in that top group.”
Senior John Aldrich has been in choir for four years including Choraliers for two and couldn’t agree more that because of the certain cuts and limited amount of people, that the overall aspect of the choir will improve. Aldrich says even though some people were cut, those remaining are in it for the right reasons.
“I think choir will be more competitive now,” Aldrich said. “But the people that will end up in Choraliers will pull together to create a stronger group than ever before.”
Aldrich says choir isn’t something anyone needs to give up on and that there is always a place for them in the choir program.
“Those who didn’t make Choraliers will still have a chance to be in choir,” Aldrich said. “Choraliers is just more competitive and they can always try again.”
Senior Beverly Dobson has been in choir for three years and Choraliers for one year. Dobson said that because of the recent cuts to the Choraliers there will be positive and negative effects.
“I think in some ways the cuts will affect the Choraliers positively because it will get people to work harder in class just because they know that if they don’t they won’t be able to bump up to that next level of choir,” Dobson said. “The negative part is that some good people who deserve to be in a high level choir won’t be able to.”
She wishes that there was a different way to deal with there being so many kids in choir rather than cutting them but she recommends that if someone is cut they should still stick with choir and keep working towards the next higher level.
“I wish there was a different solution instead of having to cut people from choir but I’ve thought about it over and over and I can’t think of any better solution,” Dobson said. “I think the students who were cut should just work harder and enjoy the fact that you still get the chance to be a part of a choir because Mr. Foley is such a great teacher and you get another opportunity to stay in his class and learn from him.”
Freshman Lily Payne is currently in freshmen choir and hopes to make Choraliers when she is a junior. She says that even if she didn’t make it she would still be happy she could be in a choir and that there are always other options.
“I would probably try to find a choir outside of school because I love singing and I would want to do it even if it wasn’t via school,” Payne said.
Due to the cuts, Payne said that all together the choir will benefit from this because those in choir will be in it for the right reasons.
“There will be a positive affect on the choir in that we will have a bunch of people who really want to be in choir,” Payne said. “But it will also be negative in that there will be people who are pretty into choir but just weren’t at the very top so they won’t be able to be in it.”
Foley encourages that there is a place for everyone in choir and that no one is really being ‘cut’ from the program.
“Everyone uses the word ‘cuts’ and I guess in sense of things for Choraliers-people are going to be cut, but no one will be cut from the choir program if they want to sing,” Foley said. “It’s just not everyone can be in Choraliers.”