New Boys in Town

The Three Latest Members in Pitch Black

From+right+to+left%2C+senior+Patrick+Riordan%2C+junior+Jonathan+Levinsky%2C+sophomore+Krishnan+Muthukumar%2C+junior+Jackson+Whitmire%2C+senior+Cyrus+Vansickle+and+junior+Aidan+Cox%2C+pose+after+going+to+an+escape+room+as+part+of+the+Choir+program%E2%80%99s+Pitch+Black+weekend+outing.+The+group+also+went+to+the+Museum+of+Ice+Cream+and+Whataburger.+The+main+reason+the+event+was+planned+was+to+strengthen+their+bond+as+a+group%2C+according+to+Riordan.+%E2%80%9CPitch+Black+is+always+a+very+tightly+knit+community%2C+so+there%E2%80%99s+always+a+lot+of+close+bonding+and+friendships%2C%E2%80%9D+Riordan+said.+%E2%80%9CI+think+this+year%2C+that%E2%80%99s+especially+true+with+the+new+members+coming+in.+They%E2%80%99re+all+close+with+each+other+and+so+now+we%E2%80%99ve+grown+closer+with+them+as+a+whole.+We%E2%80%99re+honestly+closer+than+I+was+with+the+last+generation+of+seniors%2C+which+is+my+goal+for+this+year.%E2%80%9D

Photo courtesy of Jackson Whitmire

From right to left, senior Patrick Riordan, junior Jonathan Levinsky, sophomore Krishnan Muthukumar, junior Jackson Whitmire, senior Cyrus Vansickle and junior Aidan Cox, pose after going to an escape room as part of the Choir program’s Pitch Black weekend outing. The group also went to the Museum of Ice Cream and Whataburger. The main reason the event was planned was to strengthen their bond as a group, according to Riordan. “Pitch Black is always a very tightly knit community, so there’s always a lot of close bonding and friendships,” Riordan said. “I think this year, that’s especially true with the new members coming in. They’re all close with each other and so now we’ve grown closer with them as a whole. We’re honestly closer than I was with the last generation of seniors, which is my goal for this year.”

Madison Shields, Editor

When thinking of an all-boy acapella group, the Treblemakers from “Pitch Perfect” might come to mind. But the school’s program has its own group named Pitch Black, and they’ve just added three members.

Watching them perform is easy through their numerous shows throughout the school year, like Java and Jazz, Pitch Black Saves Christmas and Princess Tea. Boys from all over the choir program participate in a rigorous tryout process, competing to be the newest members of the group. The three chosen boys this year were sophomore Krishnan Muthukumar and juniors Jackson Whitmire and Jonathan Levinsky. These three join the returning five members. While potential members were focusing on getting into the group, returning singers had other things to worry about. According to returning member of Pitch Black, senior Patrick Riordan, there were a lot of things to think about.

“I had no idea who was going to be on the list of new members,” Riordan said. “So I was a little reluctant at first, I was nervous for how the year was going to turn out. Especially as an incoming senior, I knew there was going to be a lot of responsibilities for us this year. I didn’t know how it would pan out with the new members, but so far it’s been great. They’ve been working really hard in class and have had great work ethic so far. They’re really working to keep up with the image we’ve been trying to hold for ourselves and they’re super musically talented as well. Overall, it’s been a good experience so far. I definitely have high hopes for the rest of the year, and I think great things are going to come from the new members.”

All the components of the tryout weighed heavily on Levinsky, he said. The process began with a hunt for the hidden packet, which contained the music needed for the tryout. After obtaining the music, the choir members had to submit a recording of them sight reading and singing “The Star Spangled Banner” before finally singing live in front of the graduating members of PB. Even though it felt like a lot, Levinsky said he pushed through because of how much he wanted to be a member of PB.

“Singing has always been a massive part of my life,” Levinsky said. “I’ve been singing since I could basically speak, and choir was an opportunity to be in a community full of people who share the same love for singing and music like me. I feel like the choir is a second home to me, which made it an easy decision to try out for pitch black. But one of the main reasons I wanted to join was because I knew everyone who was in it last year. And I also knew all of the people trying out. I also love barbershop music, which is what PB specializes in singing. I felt like I could bring a lot to the table based on what I knew about barbershop and based on what everyone’s take on barbershop was. I knew it was an experience I was never going to forget if I got in. And of course, I’m really happy that I got in.”

While Levinsky said he was nervous throughout his entire audition, Whitmire said he felt more relaxed. Both singers were previously part of the show choir, but Whitmire said he shed his nerves after taking the show choir and continuously performing in front of people. This led to him being very calm and collected during his tryout. However, transitioning from the show choir to PB wasn’t easy, according to Whitmire.

“The community is the best part of the choir overall. The bonds we’ve built are ones I’ll never forget. Everyone is just so nice to each other and understanding. And we are just a team because we all want each other to do well, no matter what we think of each other. And I feel so comfortable, while also feeling like I belong there.””

— Jonathan Levinsky

“Switching between the two classes was very unfamiliar since the show choir is basically the JV version of Pitch Black,” Whitmire said. “So if you wanted something with teamwork, but didn’t want something super difficult, then the show choir was the option. But if you wanted to work harder in an acapella group, then PB was the upgrade from that. The tryout process itself was the least nerve wracking audition I’ve ever done. Pretty much all you do is learn two little snippets of music for a week, then perform that in front of the seniors who are in soundwave who are leaving for college. They then talk with the choir directors and place you accordingly. I wasn’t nervous since I knew all of the judges.”

Alongside Levinsky and Whitmire, Muthukumar was also previously a part of the show choir. He did truly want to be a part of PB, but the show choir also wasn’t a very good fit for him. He also loves to sing and has loved it since middle school, which led Muthukumar to his decision to tryout.

“Trying out was definitely nerve-wracking, but it wasn’t too bad and I was really happy when I got in, so it outweighed the nervousness,” Muthukumar said. “It’s still a lot of work, and you’ve still got to put in all of the effort. Because their process makes you audition again every year even if you made it in previously, just to make sure that your singing abilities haven’t degraded in any way. So I wouldn’t say it’s super easy, but it’s honestly not that bad. Transitioning between the show choir and PB was awesome. I’m really bad at dancing, and the show choir really didn’t work for me as it did for other students. But I really enjoyed the transition between the two.”

The returning seniors try to keep a welcoming atmosphere for the new members and Riordan said he has made it his priority to make sure the new members feel comfortable, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Levinsky.

“I get nervous before every performance I’m in, and I think that’s just a normal thing for me,” Levinsky said. “But I think we’re really prepared for our next performance, we’re sounding really good at the moment. I believe that’s due to the bond PB has formed. And I think we’ll be able to pull it off really well. The community is the best part of the choir overall. The bonds we’ve built are ones I’ll never forget. Everyone is just so nice to each other and understanding. And we are just a team because we all want each other to do well, no matter what we think of each other. And I feel so comfortable, while also feeling like I belong there.”