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The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Roaring Blues Keep Roaring! 


Since performing in their debut show in October, the EHS Roaring Blues choral group have reached new heights–from practically tripling their roster of singers to qualifying for state. Hear all their exciting updates in this exclusive interview with group members Jaiden Bestman and Dylan Cortes, both  juniors, and Mr. Matthew Brown, choir director.

Dania: Hi, Jaiden, Dylan, and Mr. Brown. It’s really nice to get to interview the group again! I heard that the Roaring Blues are going to state, how does the group feel about it?

Jaiden: Most of the group is really excited about it, but there’s a lot of nerves. I think those are the main two emotions.

Dylan: For me, I’m really excited. This is my first state and solo ensemble ever, and I feel really proud for myself and all of us coming this far. I think we’ve all worked really hard for this. 

Mr. Brown: I’m really proud of these guys; we’ve only had half hour practices each week, but we’ve been able to go on to do so much because these guys are so motivated. They’re hungry,and they want this group to happen. They want it to be great. I think that’s what has led to our recent success; the group is very student-driven. I’m just along for the ride, and I’m very proud of these guys.

Dania: So, I was actually at your guys’ first-ever show, and I remember being really impressed. Do you guys have any big updates since then? 

Mr. Brown: Yeah, we’ve got a ton of new things going on. Next year, we are making this a semi-class that will be happening every IMPACT period. So during IMPACT, there’ll be a group assigned to me as a teacher, and we’ll get to practice everyday. Second of all, we’ve got T-shirts coming out soon, and we’ve already ordered them, so you’ll be seeing those around the school soon! And thirdly, we were invited to Goshen College for their Low Voice Festival, so the boys will be performing there. We’ll be busy this semester!

Dania: Wow! I’m so excited for you guys! When I came to your debut concert, I think there were around 8 to 10 members. How many do you guys have now?

Jaiden: We have 20 now, and we’re going into state with 18 students. A few of us aren’t able to make it, but we’re happy to have grown so much after our first performance. 

Dania: That is amazing. So, in addition to having new members, will you guys be rehearsing any new music?

Mr. Brown: Mhm. So, we are learning a college-level piece [for the Goshen concert]; it is called Loch Lomond, and it’ll be our biggest challenge yet. We’ll have to work hard for this one! 

Dania: Ooh, what’s the piece like?

Mr. Brown: So, it’s got a four-part harmony, a tenor-tenor-bass-bass, and it’s an Irish ballad that’s going to be long and challenging. But, since we’re performing it with the college guys, it’ll help us to get to more of their level. 

Dania: What other pieces are you performing at state?

Jaiden: We’ve had a mix of more modern day music, as well as artists from the 90’s, like Michael Jackson. 

Dania: What are the modern songs?

Jaiden: I can’t go into any specifics, but we got some Bruno Mars! We are also performing Steal Away for state, which is a decently hard song. It was a pretty tough song to get down, but I think our group has taken strides to get the song ready for state. 

Dania: So, I’m not familiar with choir, but did you guys have something like sectionals? If so, how did you do?

Mr. Brown: For choir, we have a district-level competition in order to qualify for state. In that competition, we earned gold, which is the highest rating, and this qualified us for state. But, really, it was an outstanding performance and the judges gave us a few things we could work on for state. 

Dania: What did the judges say?

Mr. Brown: I mean, they thought it was great. They gave us gold, and that’s the highest distinction you could get. They just gave us a couple details we could refine and we’re thankful for that. 

Dania: To prepare for state, what will you guys refine?

Dylan: I want to make sure for my section, as a baritone, we get down parts where we can shift from medium to low voice tones. But, I’m really proud of the guys in our group who aren’t in advanced choirs but are putting in the work to make sure we’re the best we can be. 

Jaiden: I’m really proud of those guys, too!

Dania: I’m proud of you guys, as well. I have to get going, but best of luck at state! 

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About the Contributor
Dania Razaq
Dania Razaq, Staff Writer
Hi! I'm Dania Razaq. Even though I am now a senior, this is my first year to be on The PENNANT staff. However, I love to use my communication skills to share information with my peers, so this is just a natural extension of that! One of my other passions is being a part of the Speech Team, which also provides me with a platform to connect with others about topics of importance. As you read my articles, I hope that you will share my enthusiasm!

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  • K

    Keenan HarrisMar 22, 2024 at 10:45 am

    It really is great to see that the Blues is still a widely recognized and enjoyed genre of music since nowadays it seems to be dying out to more fast paced genres. Maybe next year I’ll check out one of their concerts