A Noteworthy Trip: Combined girls choir performs at KMEA, Wichita


Natalie Martinez

Leading the Cantrices in the hand motions for the song “Bring Me Little Water Sylvie,” seniors Francesca Dessert and Monica Knight clap and stomp their feet to the rhythm. The choir performed the song along with others at a concert to show off their hard work before traveling to Wichita.

Ava Belchez, Copy Editor

A two-day bus ride to Wichita to perform for 30 minutes may not seem like an opportunity for a memorable bonding experience, but for this group of girls, it was. 

The Cantrices, which is Latin for “female singers,” left on Thursday for Wichita, where they stayed overnight. They performed Friday morning at the Kansas Music Educators Association 2022 In-Service Workshop. The choir, made up of freshmen to seniors, earned the opportunity to perform at the workshop through a virtual submission performance last year. 

In preparation for this performance, the girls attended multiple rehearsals after school, some with guest directors and performed their six-song medley for family and friends at a concert the night before they left. 

Even with all the preparation, junior Christina Arana described the apprehension she felt the day of the performance. 

“I was definitely very nervous, really nervous about messing up a pitch; that was always in the back of my head, I really just had to calm my nerves down,” Arana said. “I thought [the performance] went really well, definitely something to look back on.”

Junior Darby Sutherlin agreed that the final performance went well and said that it was the best they had ever performed the songs. Like Arana, she said she felt the pre-performance nerves before they sang. 

“I think we were all nervous the whole choir but it was fun to be with [people] who all felt what we were going through,” Sutherlin said. “It really helped me throughout the whole process and made it really fun.”

On the other hand, senior Clare O’Brien said she felt the energy and activities on the trip made what would have typically been a stressful experience, less of one. 

“I wasn’t super nervous, which I was surprised by, because I think everything leading up to it was loving and fun,” O’Brien said. “And it wasn’t a competition, it was just a moment for us to show off everything we’d worked for.” 

Some of the activities leading up to the performance included eating dinner together at a local Mexican restaurant, prank-calling each other’s hotel rooms and spending time with one another.

“I’ll always remember the excitement the night before,” O’Brien said. “We went out to dinner. We had some really fun time together, walking in the cold, practicing in the hotel room late at night and just having a fun time.”

Arana said she had fun on the bus ride to and from Wichita. On the nearly four-hour bus ride the girls watched movies together, shared snacks and sang songs. Sutherlin also said she liked the ride, along with the opportunity to be with those around her.

“I really liked the travel with all the girls in the choir,” Sutherlin said. “It was really fun to bond with them a little more. I feel like we all got a lot closer and made new friends.”

O’Brien said that as a senior, she was especially grateful for the time and memories that were made possible by the hard work the girls put in. 

“I got to spend time with people I hadn’t really spent time with,” O’Brien said. “Going through that together and knowing that we did it because of everyone’s individual contributions.”