How Newsome Elite members feel about Valenchimes

Ana Fernandez, Editor-In-Chief

   Every year, the Newsome chorus group “Elite” does a fundraiser that commemorates Feb. 14, a holiday recognized worldwide as Valentine’s day. 

   The chorus teacher, Mr. Bogue, explained that the valenchimes have “been a tradition at Newsome High School since before I got here…Bev Sutherland began this; she taught prior to me and brought the tradition over from Bloomingdale [High School]”.

   Right after winter break, the students in elite received the songs they will be performing. From there, they use a creative process in which they take one of the songs and play/practice with the vocal cords to tailor the song specifically to their group of people.

   Senior Hannah Wiles explained that solos are assigned for every group and song, meaning “someone sings the lead part and everyone else sings the background,” creating an acapella effect. This is Wiles’ first time participating in the valenchimes, so she added that “each group has one person who has done it before and they show everyone how it’s done and prepared.”

   Mia Olivares, a junior in elite, detailed that her vocal range has significantly improved throughout the years, helping her master these songs. Olivares said “you can definitely improve your vocal range; at the beginning of high school I couldn’t sing as high as I do now but Mr. Bogue has taught me different techniques to get my vocal range to its biggest potential.”

   The participating students this year seem to have mixed feelings. Overall, those who are participating in the fundraiser for the first time tend to be more nervous, while those who have participated before say that they feel excitement, anticipation, and a duty to hold their part in the group.

   Senior Sofia Zighighi said “I wouldn’t say I am nervous, I just want to make sure we have everything down like the right starting pitches… for someone this is special for them and we don’t wanna mess it up.” On the other hand, first time performer Aylani Rodriguez says she feels “a little nervous since it is my first time doing it in front of my peers. The most nerve racking part is being in a group and holding your own part.”

   Lastly, the students were asked if they had any particular experiences while performing the songs. Elle Popola shared that her group once had to perform the valenchimes in the lunchroom using the mic, which made her a little anxious because the mic could pick up one specific voice so she had to wonder “am I gonna get blasted?”

   The valenchime fundraiser is a great part of the elite program that allows the class to raise money for shows and equipment while bringing some community joy to Newsome High School.