First published in the June 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
The South Pasadena High School Choir recently won a $4,500 scholarship at the Verdugo Hills A Capella Scholarship Festival.
The choir, under the direction of Wylder Reinman, submitted a video featuring two contrasting songs for the competition. One was the popular ballad “Blue Moon” and the other was a more classical piece, “Adoramus te” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina from the Renaissance era.
Reinman, who became the choir director this past year but has taught previously in the San Francisco area, teaches one choir class at the high school and three classes at the middle school and plans to add one more class at the middle school this coming school year.
Reinman decided to enter the competition because there weren’t that many opportunities during the pandemic.
“Most adjudications were shut down because of COVID,” Reinman said.
It’s been invigorating to have in-person classes again, they added, so the choir members can lift their voices together.
“It’s so nurturing and so awesome to have that experience of being in harmony with each other,” Reinman said.
Also, Reinman wanted to get feedback from the judges on what the choir is doing right and where its members could improve.
The choir placed 7th out of 16 entries.
The scholarship will be used to purchase new music, though Reinman isn’t sure what songs to choose. It depends on the voices, which Reinman won’t know until the new school year.
While at the middle school there are beginning and advanced choirs, there is only one choir at the high school, which can present some challenges, Reinman said.
For some students, it’s their first time singing in a structured environment, while others have been singing in SPUSD classes for years.
“It’s exciting to come together and see what we can produce. And the cool thing about choir is you are greater than the sum of your parts,” Reinman said. “So, when two voices sing together, there’s something magical that happens.”
Reinman said adding voices always adds depth to the sound, no matter the skill level.
“Every single member of the choir matters,” they said.