Students Recognized at Choir Banquet

Keana Saberi , Editor in Chief

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  • Parent Volunteers of the Year take a group photo together.

  • Pooja Enagala ’19 helps hand out an award to a parent volunteer.

  • Mr. Andre Clark gives a Student of the Year award.

  • Outstanding students in each choir class are recognized.

  • Students applaud award recipients.

  • Mr. Andre Clark thanks the student teachers in the choir department.

  • Mr. Andre Clark recaps the accomplishments of the school year.

  • Head Choir Director Andre Clark and Sophia Norton ’19 talk to attendees.

  • Banquet participants eat while chatting with each other.

  • Parents get food from the tables to eat during the banquet.

  • Students wait in line to get food.

  • A cake is placed out praising choir students.

  • Parent volunteers help set up the food tables before the banquet.

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In a ceremonial closing of this year, choir hosted a banquet on Thursday, May 10 to celebrate the achievements of both individual members and the choir as a whole. The banquet was sponsored by the Westwood Choir Booster Club and students from the choir program attended.

Head Choir Director Andre Clark along with seniors and Choir Presidents Sophia Norton ‘19 and Pooja Enagala ‘19 started off the night by discussing the achievements from the past year, from students taking part in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) audition process and advancing to Pre-Area auditions to their participation in Solo and Ensemble. They spoke of the hard work the choirs put in to receive sweepstakes awards at the UIL competition in the early spring. Photos of the choir members were displayed on a slideshow for all to see, with music from this year’s Cabaret production playing in the background. The pictures were heartfelt and nostalgic, capturing the year’s events in a few minutes.

“The choir banquet was a great way to reflect on all the achievements we have accomplished this year. I enjoyed it a lot and in fact it kind of made me slightly emotional because I envisioned  myself as a senior and leaving a place where everyone around you felt like a family,” Apoorva Gobburu ‘22 said. “I think it was pretty neat to see all the seniors and how happy and proud they felt not only for themselves but as a whole choir program. Especially this year has been slightly rough on our choir program due to abrupt changes and now looking back at our accomplishments, I feel overall proud and really happy we got through it.”

Students were given numerous awards for their continuous efforts throughout the year and two members from each of the five choirs were chosen for their outstanding participation in class and overall dedication. Seniors were each awarded senior superlative awards for one thing they individually contributed to the choir program from brightest smile to highest high note sung. Several seniors gave meaningful speeches talking about all the amazing experiences choir has given them.

“Choir has been hands down the most special place at Westwood for me and I am very fortunate that I’ve gotten some of the friendships I have and I have had a leadership position,” Norton said. “It has connected me to so many great people and so many friendships that I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

Student teachers Ms. Tabitha Pangman and Mr. Smith were shown admiration for the effort they had contributed to the program, helping both Mr. Clark and the students on their road to success. Ms. Pangman especially because though she had only been with the program during the spring semester, her presence was extremely helpful to the choir.

“I’ve really loved my time here at Westwood and getting to know all the bright and very talented and engaging students. As well, just seeing how these very smart and clever, intelligent academic students engage in choir and get to have that creative outlet but also use their intelligence to sight read and tune,” Ms. Pangman said. “It was really special for me to get to be a part of specifically the non-varsity choirs and getting to work with them for UIL and winning sweepstakes.”

As the night drew to a close, among stifled tears from seniors and parents alike, the students stood hand in hand and sang The Lord Bless You and Keep You, a song that has been a tradition for the choir students to sing at the end of their concerts. The night ended with students posing for pictures with Mr. Clark, Ms. Pangman, and each other.

“When I first joined choir I was unaware of how music works but when I learned how to sight read it changed literally my whole perspective on music and how difficult it is,” Charlotte Bearse ‘22 said. “ I’ve built a lot of strong and good friendships in choir especially with upperclassmen. I expected just to have just the same group of freshmen but I’ve met a whole bunch of other groups of people who I have really admired.”