The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Choir Consistently Conquers Competition

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The ACHS Choir is a staple school program that is regularly recognized on state and national levels. Comprised of an Advanced choir, Mixed Concert choir, and Colore Dolce (women’s choir), the group is led by Conductor Theodore Thorpe III. They have had an excellent year, collecting “Superior” ratings left and right, and winning competitions against schools from across the country.

“This school year has been great,” said Thorpe. “All the way from the fall concert, to winter, to our assessment, and even our recent trip to Orlando . . , watching these students grow has been the most gratifying thing.”

When the school year began, however, the group was nowhere near the place they are now.

“It was a struggle at the beginning of the year, to get our stuff together,” said senior Sachsen Belinsky, who serves as choir Vice-President. “As we worked more frequently together, we got progressively better… We’re miles away from where we were,” she said. 

Thorpe agrees. “Without a doubt, there’s been significant improvement,” he said. “If we were to take a look at the fall concert and where we are now, it’s like night and day . . , not only with the students’ singing, but with their progression through musical choices, their vocal technique, their tone, and their quality.”

Titan choristers prepare for their December 13 winter performance, as captured on film.

By the time the district competition came around, the group was going strong. 

“We did great at Districts,” said junior Torenzo Ricks, a member of the Advanced and Mixed Concert choirs. There, each choir received “Superior” ratings (the highest award possible). Ricks said that experience helped them later on. 

“The feedback that we got was phenomenal. It shaped us for getting wins in Orlando,” he said.

The trip Ricks mentioned, to Orlando, Florida, took place in late March. All choirs except Mixed Concert attended.

“The trip was absolutely amazing,” he said. “We were able to really connect with each other.”

Belinsky also enjoyed visiting Orlando. “It was a lot better than I expected; it was so smooth,” she said.

While on the trip, the group attended a clinic at the University of Central Florida, hosted by Dr. Jeffery Redding. “[Redding] is amazing,” Belinsky said. “He really helped us prepare for our competition.”

The competition they attended, dubbed OrlandoFest, featured choirs from all over the United States and was judged by college choral professors.

“Once we got on stage [at OrlandoFest], we realized it was a real thing,” said Ricks. “Our true selves were shown,” he said. “Tears were shed. Love was fulfilled.”

The group won a plethora of honors. Both the Advanced Choir and Colore Dolce received “Superior” ratings and first-place awards in their respective categories, and freshman Elisa Quesada Sayler collected the Outstanding Soloist prize. The choir, as a whole, also won the Grand Champion award for the highest-scoring ensemble.

“It was wonderful,” said Ricks. “We were all one voice.”

From left: August Taylor, Elisa Quesada Sayler, Theodore Thorpe III, Sachsen Belinsky, Owen McCubbin, Alexanda Sarangay

So what’s the secret to winning all of these awards? According to Belinsky, it’s Thorpe. 

“He just expects us to be good. And that level of confidence in us is really encouraging and inspiring,” she said.

Ricks had high words for Thorpe as well.

“Mr. Thorpe does not give himself enough credit. Without him, there would be no ACHS choir, there would be no ‘Superior’ ratings,” he said. “The discipline that he instills in us, the fun that we have, it’s all because of him. He deserves his flowers, and he is absolutely amazing.”

Thorpe also appreciates his students and their commitment to keep growing. “That’s the only thing you can ask for as an educator,” he said.

Additionally, both Belinsky and Ricks say a sense of community has contributed to the group’s success. 

“The community is the best part [of choir],” Belinksy said. “It’s the reason why we have ‘Superior’ ratings.” 

“I can really say that my second family is my choir family. I love the fellowship, the friendships, the relationships, and the bonds that I’ve made. And I love the fact that we’re able to connect,” said Ricks. 

The bus ride home from Orlando is interrupted with dinner.

Even with their seemingly endless collection of awards, the choir has no plans of slowing down. For Thorpe, this means preparing future students for what is to come. 

“I’d like to continue to strengthen the vertical instruction model, not just at the high school.., but from grades 4 through 12,” he said. “Our [high school] choirs are only as strong and as powerful as our middle and elementary school programs. We need to strengthen those in order to make sure we have good representation from year to year.”

Photos courtesy of Titans Choir and Lola Jeanne Carpio.

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