Quantity improves quality in men’s chorus

Some of the members of Segue (left to right): Evan Malloy, Alex May, Isaiah Hockaday, Sean Lipka, Noah Sherwood, Alek Lambros, Matt Stafford, Brian Piccard.

Some of the members of Segue (left to right): Evan Malloy, Alex May, Isaiah Hockaday, Sean Lipka, Noah Sherwood, Alek Lambros, Matt Stafford, Brian Piccard.

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Ms. Marianne Pastelak is a music teacher who teaches men’s chorus at Patterson Mill High School. The group is known as “Segue,” which means to move to a new melody without interruption. This year is literally a big year for men’s chorus.

At a winter choral concert where Segue performed, there were at least 20 men on stage. Compared to the last two years, that is a significant increase in the number of students joining, where normally the number would have been closer to 11 men. The reason for this is because of the amount of men that were in middle school the previous year, as well as the students who have returned to take the class again. Ms. Pastelak states that while it is rare to have this many men, she has had a group like this multiple years. When Ms. Pastelak described the group’s work habits, she stated, “I would say [they’re] good. They mostly do what they are supposed to.” She also pointed out that a key student in the class, Josh Hutchinson, a senior who also happens to be the student mentor, is “very serious about the group.” She went on to say that every individual cares about the group. The quantity of Segue has had a positive impact on the quality. “For beginning groups, bigger is better for learning parts.” She states that if the group stays this size, she thinks that they would be able to have breakout quartets; this would be good practice for the group. It could also help them get noticed more often by organizations who need a group to sing for them. They would also receive more appreciation.

Foster Apple, a junior here at Patterson Mill, is taking men’s chorus for this year. It is his first year as a choral student. He states that men’s chorus has left both a positive and negative impact on him. “Positively, it’s given me a wider vocal range and more understanding of harmony. I try my best.” He describes the work habits of the class as “definitely good,” and states that Ms. Pastelak gives really good advice based on how each individual student learns. Apple also stated that because of the size of the group, there is more volume and power in the different parts of the chorus. It’s also easier to make friends. He reports that in the future, the quality will continue to improve. “The more we work together, the more capable we are.” Apple highlighted several key students that help the group. He described two students, Evan Malloy, a junior, and Alec Lambros, a sophomore, as not only great helpers, but great singers. He also highlighted Brian Piccard, a sophomore, and says that Piccard is aware of the different ranges of the chorus. While Apple would like to do a capella next year, he will continue to do men’s chorus so he can get extra help with singing and sight reading while also setting an example for the new students coming in. Lastly, Apple described senior Tony Marsee as a great mentor, since he has been in Segue all four years of high school.

Senior Tony Marsee is still an active member of the group. However, he has done more with music this year. He used to only do men’s chorus, but this year he is also doing a capella and jazz choir. “[Men’s chorus] made me better at singing,” Marsee states, “It opens doors to let me perform and it helps me find my talent.” Tony also states that it is a big change for him to have so many people in men’s chorus. In the future, Tony thinks that the chorus needs to improve their singing before they do anything really complicated, but the chorus itself looks promising for next year and possibly the years to come, as more men could sign up to take the class. There are a surplus of men in the middle school choruses that could decide to sign up for Segue during their freshman year.

The opinions of a four-year choral student, a newcomer, and the director herself show that the future for men’s chorus looks promising for the years to come if the class stays this size. For those who would want to pursue a career in vocal music, men’s chorus would be a great class to take. Not only does it help the members improve their singing, but it also teaches them the importance of their roles in a vocal ensemble. Like Tony has said, men’s chorus can open many doors for performing, and it can help you find your talent.

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Quantity improves quality in men’s chorus