Choir Students Shine in the Spotlight of the Southern California Regional Honor Choir


Tara Vatandoust

Sophomores Daniella Shao and Rory Miller, seniors Puneet Singh and Abigail Kwon and sophomores Kapil Ramasubramanian, Kody Lin, Mathias Lee and Nithila Francis are among the fourteen chosen for the Southern California Regional Honor Choir. Some of the songs they will perform include “The Garden of Love ” and “Cantate Domino” along with their fellow honor choir participants.

Fourteen students were chosen to perform for the Southern California Regional Honor Choir, the most students from any high school in all of Southern California and a historic first for Portola High, according to choir director Adrian Rangel-Sanchez. These students include seniors Abigail Kwon, Aarushi Shankar and Puneet Singh, juniors Aryan Dahiya, Jeff Hwang and Shefali Sinha, sophomores Madeline Chung, Nithila Francis, Mathias Lee, Kody Lin, Rory Miller, Kapil Ramasubramanian and Daniella Shao and freshman Mahat Chandra.

Choir members rehearse from Nov. 18-20 to prepare a performance of six choral arrangements at the University of Redlands at the end of the process.

“Most high schools are really excited if one or two students make it in; our school had fourteen,” Rangel-Sanchez said. “Our other voice teacher was speechless. He was like, ‘Oh my god, this is crazy.’”

To be selected for the choir, students underwent multiple audition components, including learning a solo in a foreign language, memorizing tonal passages, sight-reading some lines and scales, according to Chung. Of the estimated 600 auditionees, 270 choir members were selected to join the choir, according to SCRHC’s website.

Some of the biggest draws for the event, besides performing, were the location and the benefit of mingling with students from other Southern California schools.

“I was so overjoyed when I found out I got in because I knew that meant I could go to the University of Redlands to perform,” Chung said. “I’m sure when we go up there, it’ll be really fun to bond with people from other choirs.”

The participants have also been working hard during school, with the audition materials of the honor choir integrated regularly into the advanced choir curriculum, according to Chung.

“I put a lot of time and energy toward helping these students improve in their passion and love for singing and making music, and to see them recognized for all their hard work is really rewarding,” Rangel-Sanchez said.

Whether they are new members or old, underclassmen or upperclassmen, the choir experience serves as a bonding activity for participants.

“The best part is the sense of singing together as a group instead of just being on your own,” junior Shefali Sinha said. “You have people there to support you as a community.”