Going choir to choir

January 25, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

Singing is 17-year-old Jacklyn Ontiveros’ passion, and on Saturday, she and 177 other Burbank High School students got a chance to sing and dance with their show choirs on stage at the campus’ performing arts center.

Jacklyn is a member of one of four Burbank High choirs, which range from intermediate to advanced, and performs with the advanced boys and girls group called Insync.

Jacklyn was in a car accident two weeks ago and broke her left hand, but she wouldn’t let her injury stop her from performing with her group Saturday.


“This was such a part of my dream and life, and to ask me to stop would be like telling me to stop living,” she said.

For Jacklyn, singing “is like air.”

“Being on stage is that high,” she said.

Jacklyn and her choir were one of 12 award-winning Southern California high school choirs that performed Saturday during the second annual Burbank Blast Show Choir Festival.

“It’s Burbank High’s team-building event for choirs to come together,” said Angela Ontiveros, Jacklyn’s mother.

The event allowed choirs from Burbank’s John Burroughs High School, Diamond Bar High School, Chula Vista High School, Hart High School in Newhall and Carlsbad High School to perform four competition pieces and get critiqued by judges before they start entering contests next week, said Brett Carroll, Burbank High Vocal Music Assn. director.

The event gave students the chance to mingle with teens from other school choirs, he said.

“[Choir] is a great support mechanism,” Carroll said.

Three judges were invited to the festival to give their critiques about the choirs’ performance, so the choirs can clean up their competition pieces and practice moves or vocals, he said.

After each performance, the choirs went into a video viewing room, where they watched a their act and listened to the judge’s evaluation.

“I am looking for their singing,” judge Randy Sage said. “Are they telling a story with what they are doing?”

He examined the performers’ execution of dance moves, their costumes, the flow of their performance and whether their performance made sense, Sage said.

“Are they loving what they are doing?” he said.

The Burbank High students practice two to four hours a day for show choir, said Angela Ontiveros, who also volunteers for the music association.

“They help each other out,” she said. “It’s really a family.”

Insync choir president Ben Byram, 17, works with his group about three hours a week and has been with the group for three years.

As the group’s president, he said he has to provide moral support to members who are struggling with dance routines or vocals.

“[Choir] draws people together,” Ben said.

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