Senior finds her ‘own little family’ in choir

January 30, 2017 — by David Koh

The lights shone down on the Saratoga Chamber Choir during their Ringing Voices winter concert on Dec. 9. Senior Sarah Jin stood to the far right of the stage and looked out over the darkened audience as she sang “Mary Did You Know,” excited to show her friends and family the results of her weeks of practicing.

Ever since discovering her passion for singing in third grade, Jin has participated in choirs both within and outside of school. As a child, she loved the musical “The Sound of Music,” which sparked her interest in singing.

“As I grew older and kept watching the musical, the idea of using my music as a way to express thoughts or feelings stuck to me,” Jin said.

It was not until she was 8, when she watched a close friend perform in a choir, that she wanted to join one herself.

Jin’s first choir performance took place a year later with the Kids of the Kingdom Choir in the First Baptist Church of Los Altos. She remembered feeling amazed by the way all the different voices blended in unison.

After years of singing with talented musicians in front of crowds, Jin now practices with the school’s Chamber Choir during her first period as an alto. She has found that her passion for choir has grown into one of the most important aspects of her life.

Through choir, Jin has met not only some of her closest friends that she might have not met otherwise, but also a diverse collection of students from all corners of the campus.

“We have people from colorguard, drama, football, robotics, band and a whole bunch of communities that tend not to interact much,” Jin said.

She attributes the choir’s close-knit atmosphere to her choir instructor, Andrew Ford.

“Ford takes time to make sure we make deep personal connections to our music, which really fosters relationships in choir,” Jin said.

She fondly remembers annual choir retreats, when both the Chamber and Concert choirs merge into one group and perform a teaser for parents, and when upperclassmen share choir stories with the underclassmen.

In college, Jin hopes to join a college choir program or a cappella group. Until then, the choir will prepare its tradition song to send her off.

Every year for the past 14 years, the choir has sung a traditional Irish song, “Irish Blessing,” at the last concert of the year. Where seniors perform with their choir family one last time. Jin has sung the song every year for the past three years, and now it is her turn to be on the receiving end.

The choir pairs the song with sign language. Although Jin says that the sign language isn’t 100 percent accurate, “it gives powerful depth to the song.”

“We’ve become our own little family and it’s really going to be hard to leave that,” Jin said. “But I’m looking forward to the new and exciting opportunities that singing at a collegiate level might bring.”