Singing the songs of kindness


Elizabeth Franklin

Rebecca Rostron directs her third-block chorus class.

Chapman has a wide variety of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in, a place for everyone to fit in. One of these organizations is chorus.

That’s one of the things that choral director Rebecca Rostron loves about chorus: its inclusivity. 

“I love singing with a diverse group of people because it truly brings people together,” Rostron said. “We’re focused on the same goal, and there’s something about when you’re singing and you hear the harmonies and everybody’s voices are blending together. There’s nothing like it.”

Unlike many sports teams, chorus is something that doesn’t take years and years to build skills. While years of practice will definitely improve a singer’s abilities, it’s never too late to start singing. 

Music and singing is a form of expression for people across the world, but many people believe that they’re too far behind or that if they join a group they’ll be less talented, but Rostron aims to debunk that idea. 

“My trademark is the fact that when you come into this class, it’s a safe place,” Rostron said. “It’s a no-judgement zone, and that can free you up to be better than you ever expected to be because you lost that fear of messing up.”

Every teacher has faced their own challenges regarding teaching through COVID-19, but Rostron’s experiences have been especially unique. 

“We had to be more safe than any other ensemble because there were suggestions that singing spread COVID more than anything else, so we had to be extremely careful,” Rostron said. “We focused on music literacy, but it was more from the theoretical aspect.”

Singing with masks in a room full of echoey plexiglass was near impossible, so Rostron was faced with the opportunity to find creative ways to sing and still stay safe. 

There were a couple ideas that didn’t work for one reason or another, but Rostron was able to find a way to spread students out at a safe distance within the hearing range of the piano, where they are now able to safely and effectively rehearse. 

Things have changed dramatically in Rostron’s class, but one thing that has not changed is her constant emphasis on kindness. 

“It’s a reminder to me that I have to model (kindness) too,” Rostron said. “Not just kindness to one another, but it starts with being kind to ourselves.”

Rostron’s emphasis on teaching beyond chorus doesn’t go unnoticed by her students. 

“She always expresses to love yourself, take care of yourself, and be nice to yourself, which is important,” senior Seth Atkins said.