Crimson Chronicle Reporter
The Hollywood High Choral Department debuted its one-time showing of “ENCORE! The Beatles & The Music of Our Times” Thursday evening. The first part of the show consisted of The Beatles and Billy Joel covers by the Voices of Hollywood and the Hollywood Harmonies (two different choir classes), and the second, “The Music of Our Times,” was a potpourri of genre-spanning songs performed by the Hollywood HighNotes, the school’s show choir group.
Among the choir students that performed in Thursday’s performance were Bryan Uribe, SAS senior, and Delfin Gamboa, PAM senior.
Uribe was filling out his class interest form a year ago when he decided that he wanted to do choir to fulfill his art requirement, curious to see what it was like. He had previous experience with music when he was in band class at Le Conte Middle School, playing the baritone sax for a year. Singing was a bit of a reset for Uribe. “I winged it for a bit,” he said, “but we were taught to breathe in and let our bellies get full or something like that”.
His favorite part of the performance was singing “Yesterday” as he thought that the choral arrangement done for that song was the best out of all the other Beatles songs covered.
The auditorium that night, with nearly all the seats on the first floor being taken, didn’t do much to unnerve Uribe. If anything, it was the thought of messing up. “I mean, the only thing was to not stand out; that I was worried about. [I was] not intimidated, but worried [about being] too loud, [singing the] wrong note[s], or, appearance-wise, just moving,” he said.
As far as doing more vocal work in the future, he said he simply wanted to try it out, but that the undertaking was not really for him.
Gamboa has had a respectable amount of experience with theater productions, being featured in Hollywood High’s production of “Macbeth” and “The Addams Family”. These performances, though they have made him comfortable performing, were not quite enough to ease the anxiety of having to sing and dance for a live rendition of “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley during “One More Time: A Megamix for the Millenium”. This show marked his debut solo vocal performance. Not only did the pressure of singing alone for the first time get to him, the auditorium lighting did not help at all.
“It’s like dang, all you see when you look out into the audience is black; it feels like you’re in one of those police interrogation rooms or something,” Gamboa said. “When I put on the glasses, though, the nerves started to go away, and I got immersed in the performance.” He’s referring to the moment just before he started singing “Hound Dog” when he put on a pair of sunglasses and fake sideburns as a nod to the King of Rock n’ Roll.
Gamboa first got into singing through his inclusion in the aforementioned production of “The Addams Family”, last year, and still feels iffy about his voice. Once the pandemic settled down and students returned to in-person classes, he was put into the school’s show choir. “That was when I really started to practice my singing and grow as a [vocal] performer.”
He cites old singers, particularly Frank Sinatra, as well as the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and Johnny Cash as musical influences, though he will listen to just about any good song, always looking to expand his tastes. Seeing as how the Beach Boys is a favorite of his, he enjoyed having to perform “Surfin’ USA” during “One More Time”.
Other highlights of the show for him were the performances of “Yesterday” and “Yellow Submarine”, with the latter song having a section performed entirely with kazoos. “Those were a lot of fun to use in a song, cause it’s not often you get to use a kazoo in a choir show,” he said.