Since sixth grade, senior Spencer Schaller has been a key part of many choirs at KO. Spencer first started singing in kindergarten and began taking choir seriously around fourth or fifth grade. At that time, he joined a choir group outside of school and sang in competitions. When Spencer came to KO in sixth grade, he started singing a cappella with F2B, then joined Crimson 7 and Outlook in the Upper School. For Spencer, the chorus groups allow him to take a step back during the school day and unwind. “The choir has been a lot of fun and a lot of my friends do it as well,” he said.
Spencer has held many positions in the chorus since he first joined. When Spencer was in middle school he was a soprano, transitioned to become a bass, then was a baritone, and then had the lower tenor role in Crimson 7 and baritone in Outlook. This year, Spencer sings tenor two, the lower tenor position, in Crimson 7 and tenor one in Outlook. Spencer’s work to improve his voice has paid off immensely.
Crimson 7 Director David Baker said that Spencer used to sing with vibrato, but has worked to add straight tone to his skillset. “This is great because some songs require straight tone for the piece,” he said. Although there are no official leadership roles in Crimson 7 or Outlook, Spencer tries to lead by example. “As a senior, I lead through my actions because the younger members look up to us, and tend to pick up on our attitude towards everything, so I try to stay upbeat,” he said.
Before this school year started, the Outlook and Voce Novissima groups took a trip to Germany to perform with the Musikschule Filderstadt school. One of Spencer’s favorite high school choir moments came from the trip. “We were taking a boat ride down the Tubingen River,” Spencer recalled. “We were singing on the boat, and all the locals were watching and listening to us sing which was an amazing experience.”
Spencer said he enjoys being part of the choir because it’s not like the traditional art electives. “I am a bit of a perfectionist, so doing other more traditional art like drawing or painting can be frustrating when I can’t draw a straight line. For me, singing has been a great creative outlet and helped me through a lot of times in my life,” he said.
Mr. Baker said that over the years, Spencer has really taken a step up.“Spencer has really improved, especially his sight reading, capacity of his range, and also his solo work,” he said.
One part of the choir that Spencer likes is that everybody in the group is very close and comfortable singing in front of each other. Another example of that is during auditions. “When we audition solo, we all audition in front of each other, not the traditional one person at a time,” he said. “It’s great because for people that aren’t really trying out for the group or are new to choir, they get to experience trying out and singing in front of other people.”
Spencer’s advice to people who are thinking about joining the choir is to take risks and to start singing.