Chamber choir wins Heritage Festival Gold, Carnegie Hall invite


Photo By Shora Zamzami

The Central High School chamber choir.

Cristina Zaragoza, Staff Writer

The Central chamber choir is finishing one of their most successful seasons ever after receiving multiple honors, from high ratings in Valley competitions, to a unanimous superior rating at regionals. However, the group was most proud of earning a gold rating at the Heritage Festival in San Francisco where they scored within the top 10% of choirs from all over the country and earned an invitation to perform at the National Youth Choir Festival that will be held at Carnegie Hall next year.

It took a lot of effort, and we’ve come a long way. It makes me proud.”

— Charity Moua

Chamber choir instructor Jacob Bailey is excited about these recent accomplishments, as well as Central’s performing arts program’s growth as a whole. “We’ve got choir that’s getting gold, a band that’s getting gold, and a theater team that’s going out and competing. We have so many things going on, it’s like our little secret here on the West side of 99,” stated Bailey.

After going through a transition in leadership several years ago, the program has been making a comeback in terms of focus, funding and talent. Chamber choir has been showing up to various festivals and competitions throughout the year and consistently leaving with high ratings. “People don’t really think much of Central. When they hear ‘choir’ they think of the huge Clovis choirs. This perception is a barrier, but we’re showing up and matching up scores with Clovis choirs,” states Bailey.

Central choirs are also significantly smaller than the most competitive schools in the area, so they’ve had rise to a higher level of performance quality in order to make an impact on judges. Larger choirs can more easily produce a sweeping sound that moves audiences. Without that advantage, Central’s chamber choir had to master technical precision and artistic expression to make their mark, and that took extensive preparation. Chamber choir president Charity Moua stated, “It’s been challenging dealing with expenses and working out our schedules since we needed more time to work with each other. It took a lot of effort, and we’ve come a long way. It makes me proud.”

Despite these obstacles, the choir has been knocking out performances, winning high honors and proving that no one can underestimate them. “My highest point has to be getting gold at the Heritage Festival. That was the first time we actually got out there,” states Angie Xiong. Choir student Eaden Hue agrees stating, “I was very fortunate to be able to experience the San Francisco field trip and getting the gold.”

Choir members report their recent success has been built on a foundation of mutual encouragement. Instructor Jacob Bailey strives to create a close, supportive, student-centered atmosphere, yielding more commitment and better performances from the group. Moua states, “I support my choir. We’re like a family.” Maja Cannon adds, “We’ve been giving it our all – showing up for every practice, every performance. We are always trying our best.”