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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Choir Fosters Community and Passes on Traditions at Annual Choir Camp

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  • Kicking off the evening, Co-President Elise Trenk ’24 helps raise the energy levels of the choir teams.

  • On the lookout for their next clue, Co-President Kayla Contello ’24 helps lead her group on a scavenger hunt.

  • Hands joined right over left, the choir takes a moment to carry on and appreciate their traditions.

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Rambunctious laughter, crinkling of sheet music, and angelic harmonies floated out of the choir room at Choir Camp, which took place after school in the choir room on Tuesday, Sep. 5. An annual tradition for the department, Choir Camp is an opportunity for the whole department to bond and for the freshmen to be immersed into a community filled with traditions. 

The evening started off with introductions from the officers, led by Co-Presidents Elise Trenk ‘24, Annika Iyer ‘24, and Kayla Contello ‘24. Officers were in charge of leading the planned activities and helping break the ice between members. 

“It’s really cool to look at [choir camp] from a leadership perspective,” Trenk said. “It gives you a lot of responsibility but also the opportunity to make people’s experience in choir what you’d want it to be.” 

Following officer introductions, the choir split into eight color teams to forge connections with one another and foster team bonding. Starting off with name games in their individual groups, the game eventually turned into one big, department-wide match. 

“[The game was] really inviting and welcoming and [showed] that no matter who you are, Choir is going to let you join and have fun,” Violet Vara ’27 said. 

Set up in a station process,  members then played games like Mario Kart and Happy Salmon to raise everyone’s energy and get them into the team spirit, while activities like crafts and a scavenger hunt across campus nurtured problem-solving in groups. 

 “[My favorite part was] really just the fun and camaraderie. Happy Salmon was my favorite game, personally,” Trenk said.

After each group had a chance to bond and learn more about each other during the games, everyone reconvened in the choir room to eat an assortment of pizza and decadent s’mores bars — the latter being one of the many beloved choir traditions that freshmen were introduced to. Alongside these traditions, Choir Camp also unclouded the familial culture of the organization. 

“I hope that [freshmen] take away that they can go talk to anybody in the choir program, whether that’s one of the directors or one of the officers, everyone is going to be there to support them,” Iyer said. “It just helps with being more inclusive and making sure that everyone [feels] that they have a safe space, they’re included in whatever’s going on, and that they have people to rely on.”

Choir Camp ended with Choir Director Andre Clark teaching the whole department two songs. Another tradition in the choir department, every choir sings “Ay ay ay” and “May the Lord Bless and Keep Me” together at the beginning of each year.

“[The best part of Choir Camp] was where [freshmen] got welcomed into the family, not just as a kid who’s taking this class, but they were welcomed as a peer, and as someone who’s going to carry those traditions forward,” Mr. Clark said. 

With Choir Camp, the department is able to bond with each other regardless of grade level or choir placement, something that sets the stage for the rest of the choral year.

“There are kids that walked in today, [feeling] like they need to belong to something,” Mr. Clark said. “No matter how weird they are on any spectrum or their ability level or what classes or what grade, they’re starting this process, [and] we want them to feel like they matter.”

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Mayla Montgomery
Mayla Montgomery, Reporter
Class of 2026
I have always had a passion for writing and telling stories, and I am so excited to be working on press this year! When I’m not writing, I love watching my favorite shows, watching all the horror movies in existence, reading books, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family.

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