By Christian DiMartino
At the beginning of the school year, it is not uncommon for students to feel anxious. They do not know what their teachers will be like, who has classes with them, or what is in store for the year. Getting to know one another is a difficult task, but some teachers eliminate the awkward introduction period with weekend retreats.
Choir and handbells director Angela Hampton is one such teacher. Every year, she takes her a cappella choir on a weekend-long retreat. This year they traveled to Country Lake Retreat campground, north of Henryville .
“Its biggest purpose is a team building event,” said Hampton. “In a choir, you have many individual voices, but we perform as a single unit. In a nutshell, what we’re trying to do is get everyone working in a team rather than as individuals.”
Hampton, who has been a choir teacher for the past 20 years, has been hosting retreats for the past five years. She attended a conference on choir retreats, and was inspired to have them herself.
At the campground, choir members were divided into sections determined by their voice ranges, and they would rehearse. But they did not just work, they also had fun. They played kickball, made s’mores, canoed, and told scary stories.
“Everyone bonded by talking to each other and getting to know one another; we had free time for a while each day, so people hung out,” said sophomore Brett Yeaton, who joined choir mainly because he enjoyed hearing the a cappella choir. This was his first retreat.
“I got to know a lot of people. My team won the kickball tournament so I walked away with good team-working qualities,” said Yeaton.
Sophomore Andrew Mills, who has been in choir since the sixth grade, also went on the retreat for the first time.
“I got to know a lot of the people more than I did going in,” said Mills.
Senior Kathryn Pryor is in her first year in a cappella, and this was also her first retreat.
“I really got to get closer to the people I didn’t know before I came into a cappella,” said Pryor,” I’m willing to be very open with all of them.”
Pryor is in her first year in a cappella, and this was also her first retreat.
According to Hampton, everyone bonded very well, calling the trip,”a very successful group building retreat.”
Through this retreat, the a cappella choir has become a more cohesive group.
“A cappella, women’s choir and men’s choir, are a great ways to meet new people so you can grow as both a team and a family,” said Pryor.