Honors choir sings their way to the University of Memphis



Select students from all over the Mid-South area are chosen to participate in the University of Memphis Honors Choir. Students were given two days to learn three new pieces.

The conductor’s baton bounces through the air — “one, two, three, four” — as lyrics fly out of the singers’ mouths. Their nerves slowly disappear as their voices float through the air. The notes on the sheet music come to life as the choir takes the stage. On Jan. 26 and 27, select students from across the Mid-South gathered to participate in the University of Memphis’s Honors Choir. The event gave students the chance to sing in a professional setting and explore their singing capabilities.

“I learned if something becomes harder [I should] keep just pushing through,” Jordan Kirby (11) said. 

The preparation for a choir performance first starts with a sheet of music. The sheet music might tell the singers what notes to hit, but the story of the song is told through them. Students were given two days to sight-read three pieces, practice with peers and bring the songs to life.

“[At first] learning three pieces of music in two days was hard, but [it] was definitely a good experience,” Sarah Cameron (11) said.

The emotion that a song emits is what sticks with the audience. The feeling of joy boosts their serotonin, the feeling of rage explodes within their bodies and the feeling of sorrow paints their faces with tears.  The emotions the choir uses while singing are what make the song come alive. Students not only had to memorize their music but also bring an emotional aspect to their performance.

“I learned how to be more expressive of my emotions while singing,” Nya Goble (12) said.

The hook is usually the catchiest part of a song and what grabs the audience’s attention. The rush, the adrenaline and the intense heartbeats as they enter the stage are what grab most singers’ attention. The ability to express themselves and feel alive is what keeps most singers hooked to their music.

“Being on stage singing is quite literally where I feel the most at peace,” Cameron said. “[There is just] something about it, maybe it’s the adrenaline or something [but it] makes me feel good.”

The connection between the choir is what turns notes on a scale into a memorable performance. The same day students were given their sheet music, they were also given the chance to connect with new faces. At the start of their journey, they were strangers, but by the end, they were a family. 

“The group of people we were with … were … wonderful [and] we all [became] friends with each other really quickly,” Kirby said. 

As the singers turn the page of their sheet, they take with them a new understanding of music. While some people listen to music to escape reality, others sing to embark on a reality where they feel heard. The notes on a sheet are drawn to tell the composer’s story, but within that story is another felt by the singer. Music speaks to people in different ways, but it takes them on a journey. For students in the Honors Choir, their journey allowed for their love of music to grow and their sense of belonging to expand.

“[I have been singing] longer than I can remember,” Goble said. “I know some people get stage fright, but I’m most comfortable [when] on stage.”

(From left to right) Riley Bruce (10), Jordan Kirby (11), Caleb Frambo (12), Thomas Riley (12), Katie Robinson (12), Nya Goble (12), Kate Engstram (12) and Sarah Cameron (11) pose in front of the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt music building entrance. The Honors Choir event took place Jan. 26 and 27. (DANIEL MASSEY//USED WITH PERMISSION)
Honors Choir is a yearly event that happens at the University of Memphis. Select students from White Station High School were chosen to participate in this event. (DANIEL MASSEY//USED WITH PERMISSION)