Hopkins’ New Choir Bursting Out in Song

Linda Weber
Originally printed in the Spring 2019 issue of Views from the Hill

The sound that this group makes is unlike any other group at Hopkins, which is exciting and extremely special. The high sophistication in tone quality and vocal production is incredible to be a part of, but it is not the only reason why I love singing with Treble Choir; it’s the talented, kind people that make it special. We are all kind and supportive of one another and having that level of trust is the only way we can make the sound and music we do. 
—Katie Broun ’19

IT’S 2:35 P.M. ON A FRIDAY afternoon—H Block—and one would expect students to saunter into the final class of the week distracted, with thoughts directed toward the weekend. Not here in Erika Schroth’s choir room. Surrounding the piano in a swirl of energy are the girls of Hopkins’ Treble Choir, the newest extracurricular music offering that appeals to singers who, in Schroth’s words, “want to sing more and tackle challenging music.”

“I wanted to have a path for our students who really love to sing and who are becoming more and more sophisticated musicians,” says Schroth, Director of Choral Music. The treble choral repertoire “is giving them a whole new sound world to live in and to experience—a different timbre, texture, and different musical colors.”

The music is challenging and harder than I’ve ever done. I’ve always wanted to sing something that pushes me and puts me in a range that is difficult.
—Isabel Vlahakis ’19

A treble choir is exclusive to voices that sing around or above middle C—sopranos and altos. A typical size choir is 16, allowing for four sets of singers—Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, and Alto II. The treble choral repertoire is vast and rich. Schroth describes one piece the group is working on, Erik Esenvalds’ “Only in Sleep,” as “buttery, deliciously textured music, satisfying to sing and a real challenge.” It features a six-part harmony and a solo.

Hopkins’ Treble Choir is open to all junior and senior singers and is not restricted to students who have taken choral classes at Hopkins. “I had in mind there might be students who have done a lot of singing and haven’t had the opportunity to sing for Hopkins,” said Schroth. Hence, the choir is an extracurricular.

I play trumpet in the orchestra and jazz band. I don’t have the ability to sing in the choir, schedule-wise. This allows me to exercise another instrument— my voice.
—Sophia Colodner ’19

Because the music is challenging and there is limited rehearsal time each week, singers need to be able to jump into the score quickly. Auditions are required and the students take them very seriously. Schroth recalls the newly formed choir’s first rehearsal last fall. “We started to read through a piece and the girls looked around and said, ‘Wow, we sound good!’ Everyone here has a unique voice, a real instrument.” For Schroth, the joy is providing another opportunity for these voices to sing.

The Treble Choir had its premiere performance at the annual Songs of Winter concert in December 2018, and will perform at the annual spring concert in May.