Published on June 5th, 2017 | by Luna Kohut0
Performing at graduation
As the end of the school year approaches, the senior class has been moving full speed ahead to the very end of their high school career, preparing for the event they have waited four years for: graduation. The big event, diploma and all, where years of studying and hard work will finally pay off as you walk across the stage.
Some of the major takeaways of the ceremony are the student performances, which have been a tradition as long-lasting as graduation itself. Many students hope to perform as a way to say goodbye to their peers by utilizing something that they are passionate about.
Chloe Goldsmith (’17) is one of the seniors whose performance with a couple of her friends got through the process of auditioning and will be featured at graduation.
“I performed in middle school at graduation with my friend Molly. It would be really amazing if we continued that tradition,” Goldsmith said. “There’s definitely some significance purely because we did have that experience in middle school. To have a culminating performance with new friends seems to be pretty representative of our experiences at Samo.”
Performing with friends, in front of other friends can suffice as a good amount of closure for the high school experience. It can also be a way of introducing everyone to a secret talent or skill.
“We’re performing an original song at graduation,” Goldsmith said. “We thought it would be more creative and more representative of our true selves. I’m pretty excited. I think the audition was the most nerve-racking part.”
As for the process of judging itself, Goldsmith expressed that she believed the process was fair.
“The judging was pretty nerve-racking,” Goldsmith said. “When we auditioned the instruments weren’t balanced so we weren’t always heard over the piano. Even though the audio kind of got messed up, I think it was fair.”
Two other seniors that auditioned to be featured at graduation are Amalia Davis del Piccolo (’17) and Sofia Garcia George (’17). Although they did not make the cut, they still feel positively about the experience.
“Our friend composed an arrangement that she thought would be fun for us to play at graduation. It would’ve been nice if we had been able to play in front of everyone,” Davis del Piccolo said.
Garcia-George helped elaborate on the piece they wanted to perform.
“The piece we auditioned with was ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane,’ and our friend thought it would be a sweet idea to have us all play together. We thought it would be perfect for graduation and we wanted to help our friend showcase her composition skills and abilities,” Garcia-George said. “Overall we all just wanted to play together, as a way to say goodbye.”
One of the judges, language teacher Brooke Forrer, explained more about the judging process and the qualifications.
“Well first we open it to the entire senior class. We announce it at senior class meetings and we make applications available so that anyone can try out,” Forrer explained. “Then those applicants must come to a try out one day after school. We listen to them perform and discuss afterwards to select our performers.”
As for the number of performances per year and the requirements for an act, she explained how it all depends on the current situation and group.
“I don’t know the exact number of performers for this year, but I think we have four or five performances or groups involved. The number can vary year to year, depending on the performers we see and how long their acts are,” Forrer said. “They have to be under three minutes to be considered. Typically, we end up selecting three or four acts.”
As for the judging process itself, Forrer explained the system they currently are using.
“There’s a forced ranking process. Each of the people in the room get a sheet,” Forrer said. “So out of all the ones we see, we have to decide which to rank the highest and which one to rank the lowest. Then, we share each of our highest ones and discuss to come to a decision.”
Overall, a lot goes into the process of performing and saying goodbye at graduation, and it seems to be a very fair and logical process.