Cypress, TX (June 1, 2016)
By Lauren Axel, Cypress Lakes HS
A group of upperclassmen in the Cypress Lakes High School choir reaped the benefits of a successful year in UIL Concerto and Sight Reading, as well as multiple community service acts, by staying a week in New York City April 14-19.
The Cypress Lakes choir scored all “ones” in UIL competitions this year, a rare achievement. Choirs are scored by a set rubric requiring them to be superior in all areas. It marked the first time that all choirs at Cypress Lakes earned a sweepstakes award.
“I feel as though I worked hard all year long and my efforts were all paid off when I landed in New York,” Hailey Gamez, junior choir member, said.
While in the Big Apple, choir members had the chance to attend a Broadway workshop put on by the cast of Aladdin.
“The workshop allowed the students to experience what it would be like to be a performer or musician in NYC. The Aladdin Company taught the choir members one of the dances as well as the song to go with it,” Lelah Loftin, choir director, said.
“Being in the big city and having the chance to witness a musical being put together was an unforgettable momentum life. I saw the passion in the performer’s eyes and it is the same passion that drives me to do better every day,” Caroline O’Brian, junior choir member, said.
Following the workshop, the students got to see how the show played out from behind the scenes to the stage. Bright lights, vivid costumes and booming voices filled the stage as the audience watched in awe.
“You can be as big as you choose, you can do as well as you practice and New York sealed that belief for me,” Marco Sataino said.
When it was time for our students to return home, they were not able to due to the Houston area being flooded. They stayed in New York two more days before it was safe to return home.
“Although I was worried about my family, I was thankful I was not there to witness it as well as being able to come home to my loved ones,” Gamez said. “Choir has provided me with an extended family and endless opportunities I would not be able to find elsewhere.”
The choir concluded a successful and adventurous 2015-2016 school year by hosting a fine arts benefit concert for local flood victims on May 16 at Cypress Lakes. The event raised $1,500 for nonprofit organization Cy-Hope, which serves underprivileged children throughout the CFISD community and has played a large role in flood relief.
Choir director Lelah Loftin, right, and assistant director Rebecca Vaughn, left, Cy-Hope clinical director Amy Rollo
“I’m so proud of the performing and visual arts for joining forces to help those affected by the flood,” Loftin said. “Seeing so many contribute their time and talents to help those in need was inspiring and uplifting. I hope to make this benefit concert an annual event.”