The early bird singers of Orcutt Academy
One important aspect of the arts program at Orcutt Academy High School (OAHS) is the dedicated choir class. This elective takes a unique commitment and lots of dedication.
Choir is only offered for one period in the day. Unfortunately this is zero period, starting at 6:50 AM. This is a major commitment of the class. OAHS choir teacher, Mr. Smithson, and students alike agree that this is the only downside to the class. This is Smithson’s first year teaching choir at OAHS, but taught choir and band at Santa Ynez High School in the past.
Anyone can join choir as long as they have a free zero period. Once in the class, students will be assigned a vocal group depending on their vocal range. The four groups are soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, ranging from the highest to lowest depending on their voice. Once assigned into groups, students spend the year learning based on the state’s curriculum. Though choir does not have a big test at the end of the year, choir students still have to learn a set amount of information.
OAHS junior, Emily Beale is enjoying her first year in the class. Beale explains that the choir class isn’t just singing. Music theory was interesting for her to learn and gave her a better insight into her singing. Emily is a soprano herself, which means she sings all the higher ranged notes. She shares that being in choir has opened her range which makes her voice better when performing outside of school in performances and at church.
Smithson stresses that while zero period is not the ideal time slot, it allows for only the most dedicated students to be in the class, as it is a commitment. Smithson explains, “The kids that are in there, want to be there. I only have the dedicated ones.”
Choir performs throughout the community about eight times a year. Smithson explains that he enjoys how choir is more about working as a team to create something artistic rather than something competitive. Later this year, they plan on competing at Disneyland, along with the OAHS band. Smithson concludes saying, “At the moment they are pretty well prepared so I think they will do pretty good.”