From the Cafeteria to Carnegie Hall

El Modena’s Vocal Music received seven awards and an invitation to participate in the National Youth Choir Festival at Carnegie Hall during their trip to the Heritage Festival in San Francisco


El Modena’s Vocal Music in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Frontline: How did Chambers, Harmonia, and Men’s Choir place?

Justin Ellis: Chambers got silver or 3rd, Harmonia got gold or 1st, and Men’s Choir got gold or 1st. The scores work is that you can get bronze, silver, or gold, based on what percentile your score fits in with the national average. On top of that, you can get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd compared to the other choirs in that particular venue.


FL: How the participants judged?

JE: We are judged based on how well we sing as a group. Some things the judicators look at are diction, balance (i.e. the choir sounds like one voice rather than a hot mess), wrong notes, etc. We also get awarded based on how well we react to the judicators, so if we follow the advice they give, we get more points. We also get points for being respectful to other choirs and the judicators.


FL: Besides competing, what did you do while in San Francisco?

JE: While in San Fransisco, we got to go to the: Great America Theme Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, China Town, and the Ghirardelli Factory. It was definitely a fun weekend!


FL: Why did vocal music attend the Heritage Festival in San Francisco and not San Diego?

JE: Each year we alternate locations. Last year we went to San Diego, and the year before that San Francisco. We will most likely go to San Diego again next year.


FL: What does winning two Gold Awards mean for El Modena?

JE: Since our Harmonia and Men’s Choir both got gold, we were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. Unfortunately, we most likely cannot go because of financial reasons. Last year Men’s Choir was invited, but we couldn’t attend. Though, getting gold is still a tremendous achievement for this school, and it is an award our school should be proud of.


Also, “on top of getting 2 golds and one silver, two soloists Keomalu Wilson and Cade Scanlon got the Soloist Awards for the second year in a row. Our school also got the award for the best spirit, so we represented El Modena very well. On top of that, each teacher gets to submit a student they feel has the best character and contribution to the choir, and the judges pick one student. Our very own Kayla Cooper was chosen for the award. Our choir director also got an award for being one of the best choir directors and choosing good music. In total, our school won 7 awards, making this a great year for choir.”

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