East Hamilton High Fine Arts enrolls 120 pianists, 80 choir members

East Hamilton High Fine Arts enrolls 120 pianists, 80 choir members

October 5th, 2011 in Local Regional News

Music fills the air in East Hamilton Middle High School's Fine Arts Department as 80 choir members rehearse.

However, when 120 pianists play notes on the keys only they can hear it inside their headphones in the fine arts wing.

"We have a really cool state of the art piano lab," said the school's Fine Arts Department head Cynda Holmes. "We started out with four blocks of piano. Each year we added another block. Now we have six blocks of pianos and four new pianos."

East Hamilton Middle/High School choir students gather around choir director Cynda Holmes. Students raise funds often to provide classroom supplies and field trips to vocal workshops.

Photo by Katie Ward

All total, 20 shiny black Yamaha Clavinova pianos await students inside East Hamilton's piano lab daily. One of three piano instructors sits in the front of the classroom playing a piano. Students and the teacher all wear headsets so they can talk through microphones back and forth as they listen to the songs played on the keys. A mother board connects the headset of the teacher and student together so that spectators walking in the classroom hear silence as students play the keys.

"The setup is neat," said Holmes, who took piano lessons for 17 years and received an undergraduate degree in piano and vocal performance education. "They can hear me and I can hear them, but no one else can. Piano is a great way to get students interested in the Fine Arts Department."

Holmes said oftentimes her piano students become her choir students too; she is the director of the school's 80-member choir. The choral students are selling World's Finest Chocolate as a fundraiser.

Coming up, Bones' Smokehouse on East Brainerd Road will host a "Bones Day for East Hamilton Choir" Oct. 25 all day. Patrons that say they are dining on behalf of the choir will be donating 15 percent of their meal cost to the choir.

"We would love community support for our department," said Holmes. "This fundraiser will help with our trip to Disney World. We will go to a Disney workshop to record our voices with a Disney soundtrack."

Choir students compete in various choral competitions and travel to sing at nursing homes.

The Fine Arts Department at East Hamilton High School has four soundproof practice rooms, a rehearsal space, a piano lab, and separate rooms for band, theater and choir.