The sixth period end bell rings. You’re walking down the music hallway and you’re trampled. The chorus has started filing out, and you’re surrounded by big, buff basses and high-voiced sopranos, all chatting about the new piece they’ve just sight-read to death. Soon, they’ve left a large mound of music everywhere, but they’re gone. Hang around for too long, though, and you’ll be crushed by the incoming eighth period chorus.
Although both Stuyvesant choruses now include over 100 members, the sixth period Concert Chorus was always meant to be bigger, just as the eighth period was meant to be a chamber choir, a smaller ensemble that shouldn’t exceed 50 people. Then, as the years went by, the number got steadily larger.
But this isn’t the only change. The Concert Chorus once sang more patriotic and gospel songs, while the Chamber Choir (now known as the Concert Choir) sang pieces from the Baroque and Renaissance period. Now, the two styles are blending into one. In the Concert Choir, pieces like “My Heart Will Go On” and “Fly Me to the Moon” replace classics like “Ah Dolente Partita” and “Lamentations of Jeremiah.”
Because of this shift, we’re losing something special. It would be great to have a traditional chamber choir in the music program again, but according to AP Music, Fine Arts and Technology Dr. Raymond Wheeler, budgeting won’t let us hire a new teacher or expand the instructors’ already full schedules.
That’s a shame. With each new generation of choristers, the knowledge of the classical pieces that were once sung is quickly fading. Sadly, this seems to be a trend at Stuyvesant High School. Many students don’t know about the changes that have taken place here because the memory dies out with each outgoing class.
Change isn’t always a bad thing. After all, Stuy was once an all-boys school. But lately, change has often meant less autonomy for the students. Before the middle of last year, kids walked around listening to iPods in the hallways. Phones were allowed out after 4:30 p.m. We could leave the building during free periods. SING!, a supposedly completely student-run competition between the grades is now being censored. Is our Golden Age of Stuy student sovereignty over?
Maybe we shouldn’t give up hope. Although with each year we must adjust to fit the fresh sound brought by newcomers, we should be able to keep touches of the old. In Concert Choir, our teacher recently announced that we would be doing a Bach piece for the upcoming holiday concert. For the greater student body, however, the return of many student freedoms will take more than a little whining and hoping.
Stuy policies and practices can evolve so that we still preserve what once made our school so unique. The Student Union (SU) is our chance to represent ourselves on these issues. Unfortunately, when students are called forward to join, few volunteer. Last year, only two pairs of running mates ran for Junior Caucus, rendering the primaries useless.
The student body can’t expect a stand against the administration if only a select few care to involve themselves in their own government. And if only a few care now, in the years to come, few may remember what Stuy once was.