Ensemble evolution

Encore enrollment expands


Photo by: Maddy Emerson

As he stands on the risers with his fellow encore studnets, junior Neo Holmes feels he will make it through districts. "I have confidence I will make it," Holmes said. "It seems like a lot of fun." Holmes has only been involved with encore for one year.

As approximately 12 percent of the student population gathers in one room, vocal music instructor Susan Laushman reflects on the growth of her program throughout the years.

Over 15 years, the vocal music program, Encore, has grown dramatically. The number of students increased from 13 to 72.

“We built this program from scratch. When we started to grow by leaps and bounds, I was surprised.” Laushman said. “Now it is an expectation of mine I try to maintain.”

Although she awaits a larger choir each year, Laushman considers the hardships that come with controlling the group.

“Classroom management is the most difficult,” Laushman said.

Though Laushman believes managing the group is the most difficult, guidance counselor Jessica Stegman feels she still does an exceptional job.

“Mrs. Laushman does a wonderful job bringing the level of students and voices together, all while managing the size of the class,” Stegman said.

The class size is part of the reason Encore senior Chloe VanBecelaere believes her Encore experience has been great.

“It is fun having a huge number of kids try out for district. [I love] pulling up to contest with this huge sea of purple because everyone watches,” VanBecelaere said.

VanBecelaere also expressed how having a large choir does not only benefit the group but the entire program.

“More members generate greater interest from the community. More kids in Encore means more family members watching, so crowds are larger too,” VanBecelaere said. “The bigger, the better [because] a greater mix of voices means a fuller, prettier sound.”

Unlike Vanbecelaere, senior Daniel Bell has noticed a few things that make the class difficult.

Some students get annoyed quickly with the talking but Laushman controls it,” Bell said. “Also, a lot of the times it gets really hot in the class.”

He acknowledges the positive aspects of the choir as well.

“Despite that we are really tight on our risers, there is a lot of talent in the choir,” Bell said. “No matter where we perform, we still sound amazing.”