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New location offers recreational activities, fellowship 

Continuing a five-year tradition, choir and ensemble will participate in the choir retreat in order to gain extra practice and to forge relationships between students. This year they travel to Cayucos to rehearse music in a local church and spend time at the beach, Sept. 8.

PC Pierce | The Feather Online

The choir retreat is typically held in Bass Lake occupying the Degroot’s cabin, but the cabin is now being remodeled.

Choir director of 18 years, Susan Ainley, plans to lead the students in icebreaker games and sing for an extended practice.

When you sing together, not only do you improve your vocal skills but you feel a sense of belonging,” Ainley said. “So when we only have a 50-minute class, or even a block period, it’s just not long enough, so a choir retreat gives us an extended period of time to sing together.”

Rylee Schwab, ‘21, is looking forward to her second choir retreat this year, but is now traveling as an ensemble member after three years in choir.

“I love being in a small group of girls,” Schwab said, “it has really helped me develop my music skills more. I also love getting to hang with friends and Mrs. Ainley is a great teacher and makes it really fun.”

Ainley, who visits Cayucos every year with family, recently got the idea to host the retreat in the new location.

“This year we are going to go to the beach for the day,” Ainley said. “We originally and only have ever gone to Bass Lake for the day, but the Degroot’s cabin is being remodeled so we can’t stay there this year. I go to Cayucos every year for a family vacation so I called a local church and they are allowing us to come sing in their church for rehearsal.”

Starting in 8th grade Josiah Giles, ‘20, has participated in choir for the last four years.

“The choir retreat is a fun time where all the kids in choir can get together and get to know each other better in a fun way,” Giles said. “It would be nice to get to know a lot more of the kids in choir because I don’t know at least half of the kids in choir.

Schwab looks forward to collaborating with the choir and traveling to the beach with friends.

“The choir retreat is basically just a time for ensemble and choir to bond,” Schwab said, “We also go to the beach and sing together which is fun because we don’t get to sing with choir a lot. I am looking forward to spending time with friends and hanging out with people I am not normally close as well as the van rides because it’s just a fun time to listen to music and to talk to friends.”

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

The choir will depart for Cayucos at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 and return at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Comparing the choir retreat to involvement in sports, Ainley highlights how powerful the trip is for students.

“Almost all of them say that it was their favorite activity of the whole year,” Ainley said. “Even when we go on big trips they remember the retreat as the day they got to meet new people. There is just something about spending an extended period of time together that makes you feel like you can do anything. It’s very much like a team sport, after lots of practice you want to pick up your teammate when they are down.”

The choir will depart for Cayucos at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 and return at approximately 7:30 p.m.

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Vijay Stephen can be reached via email or Twitter.

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