Seniors bid farewell to jazz choir


Meg Byrne

The 2021-2022 Pleasant Valley Leading Tones performed at the PV elementary schools during their choir tour.

Sidney Brockmann, Social Media Manager

Although senior year is packed with excitement, it is also a year full of lasts. Many seniors in the Leading Tones, Pleasant Valley’s premier vocal jazz group, performed for the last time ever on March 29. 

Senior Erika Holmberg, a three-year member of Leading Tones, has witnessed the growth of the group throughout the years. “It was very bittersweet performing for the last time of the season, but it was very rewarding to go out with our best performance,” she said. 

Holmberg continued, “Hearing all of the positive feedback from the judges, audience members, other high school directors and more just reinforced how incredible this last performance was for all of us. I’ll greatly miss singing in this ensemble with so many talented musicians.”

After developing a connection with jazz music and fellow group members over the past several years, senior jazz members have noticed a great surge in their musicianship and overall life skills. While working together, they grow upon abilities such as communication, punctuality, organization, leadership, as well as many others. 

Senior and three-year member of PVHS jazz choirs Ryan Saddler has certainly felt the impact of jazz choir on his life. “It’s made me an overall better musician and I’ve built better relationships with my peers,” Saddler said. 

Since this is most likely his last time singing in a group like this, he reflected on the best parts of jazz choir. “It was the little things that made it the best, the laughs we shared together, finding out we made it to championships, and when we would just jam when we made music together,” he said.

Unlike classical music – typically practiced during the school day at PVHS – the PV jazz choirs rehearse and compete outside of school. Jazz is more of an extracurricular activity; students only participate because they genuinely enjoy it, which brings heaps of enthusiasm to the groups.

Additionally, teens typically get more excited about jazz music because it more closely resembles the music they often enjoy outside of school. Jazz is expressed somewhat similarly to pop music, which is among the most popular genres for teens.

Through making music together for years and years, the Leading Tones and other PV jazz groups have grown very close. Many have developed deeper, more complex connections with one another as they have grown their musical skills from the ground up.

Although there are jazz and a capella groups at the collegiate level, for many senior singers, this is their last time being part of these groups as many are pursuing different interests in college. 

Although the end of jazz choir for PV’s 2022 seniors is just another last on the extensive list, the development of relationships, deeper connection to music and the experiences gathered from jazz choir are things jazz alumni will never forget.