A Season for Song with the Choir


Claire Schneider

Choral director Carrie Gary takes a moment to speak between songs. For the advanced choir, practice starts from that very first day of school. “We look at our first song and then we just practice practice practice,” Gary said.

Claire Schneider, Copy Editor

 The attention of family and friends was directed to the back of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church when the student choir poured through the doors, singing “Jambo Rafiki”.

On Oct. 24, the Bullitt East choir held their first concert of the 2022-2023 school year.

Since the start of the school year the choir had been practicing for this fall concert and it’s clear their hard work paid off. With the holiday season and choir concerts, often comes a variety of emotions. In the midst of the holidays, the choir is preparing for their winter concert, along with that, the choir will soon be caroling away, performing during Light up Mt. Washington.

The choir’s procession to the front of the church and into their positions had not been planned far in advance. “We kind of just threw the procession of “Jambo Rafiki”, kind of threw that together,” Senior choir member Victoria Debee said.

Choral director Carrie Gary and the choir spent the day of the concert at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, practicing and working on transitions between songs. “That’s half of it because everybody knows how to sing, but it’s like, where do they stand since we don’t have the opportunity to sing where we perform,” Gary said.

Once the applause for “Jambo Rafiki” died down the choir moved on to their rendition of the TikTok viral corn song, also known as “It’s Corn”. Once alumni and friends began tagging Gary in choral renditions of the sensation, she decided to buy the music from the website Teachers Pay Teachers. There was the question of how an internet meme would fit into the fall concert, only eight measures.

 “So we just started with it because it’s pretty fun,” Gary said. If an audience member was unfamiliar with “It’s Corn”, a QR code was provided on the program, leading to the TikTok that took the internet by storm. 

“It was a super fun time, after concerts, we were asked our favorite thing to sing and our favorite thing to hear, and a lot of people said the corn song,” Debee said.

Gary feels the whole concert was received very well by both the audience and choir members, beyond “It’s Corn”. “I try to make the program as eclectic as possible, with different languages and different styles with some pop music, and I always ask the kids the day after the concert, like what was your favorite song to sing, what was your favorite song to hear, and every song was someone’s favorite,” Gary said.

Besides “Jambo Rafiki”, the fourth and second-period concert choir performed “Oceans and Stars”, an original work by composer Amy Bernon and “You’re My Best Friend”, by British rock band Queen. The fourth-period concert choir performed “I Ask for One Day” and the East Elite, an after-school choir, performed “Set Me as a Seal”. After performing “It’s Corn”, the advanced choir performed “Dirait-On”, “Animal Crackers”, “Some Nights” by pop group FUN, and a medieval piece known as “Agnus Dei”. The concert ended with the combined choirs performing “True Light” by Keith Hampton, inspired by “This Little Light of Mine”.

With concerts and performances, there will always be a variety of emotions. “I’ve calmed down from being on the stage, but I think a lot of the time the pressure, especially for newer students, it’ll be kind of like stifling up a little bit and like, ‘oh, it’s time to go now, I’m professional now’,” Debee said.

Another strong emotion felt by Debee is pride and love for the choir. She’s proud of how far they have come, from first learning a song to singing it in front of a crowd. Having been in the choir for the past four years, the community is one of the reasons she stays. “In any other class, you will not find such a sense of community I think you do as in choir,” said Debee.

For the winter concert, Gary avoids limiting songs to just Christmas carols. “We’re singing a Hanukkah song, we really just all tried to look at how music intertwines with most religions and cultures and things,” Gary said.

The songs the choir has been practicing include classics “All I Want for Christmas is You” and “Last Christmas” and more. They will be performing “Mary, Did You Know?”, which had been performed several years before. A time-honored tradition, Bullitt East choir alumni will also join the choir to sing “Carol of the Bells’ “, signaling the end of the winter concert. “Anyone that has been in choir from the time 2005 when we started singing “Carol of the Bells” to now is invited to come up and sing,” Gary said.

The winter concert will be held on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

The choir will be singing from 6:20-6:40 p.m. at Mt. Washington Town Pavilion during Light up Mt. Washington on Dec. 2. 

“We’re getting back to things that we haven’t done since before COVID, we didn’t do Light up Mt. Washington in 2020 or 2021, so I’m excited to get back to it this year,” Gary said.