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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Impacts of performing arts at Kaneland

Mixed Choir singing during the Winter Concert on Feb. 15, 2024. They performed songs Unison by Bob Chilcott, Fly! by Aydrian Norman and I’ll Make the Difference by Moses Hogan.
Photo By Courtesy of Kyle Saros
Mixed Choir singing during the Winter Concert on Feb. 15, 2024. They performed songs “Unison” by Bob Chilcott, “Fly!” by Aydrian Norman and “I’ll Make the Difference” by Moses Hogan.

In high school, people are often categorized by their interests. Band kids, sports kids, choir kids, AP kids, and theater kids to name a few. But what does it mean to be a theater kid? Or band or choir kid?

Like most interests people have, performing arts people do it because they love it and it is important to them. Sophomore Bianca Garcia is a part of Wind Ensemble where she plays the oboe and Jazz Band where she plays the piano, as well as Marching Band where she plays the flute during the marching season. 

“[Performing arts] are important to me because a lot of it is a way to express myself and I always like to be able to pretend to be someone I’m not,” Garcia said. “Music is a really good coping mechanism for me. When I play it I’m always in a good mood and it calms me down.” 

There are many psychological physical benefits from music, especially for those playing or singing. It can reduce stress, anxiety and boost your immune system. Many studies have been done on this topic. One such study called Sing with Us, gathered 193 participants that were all affected by cancer for a single choir session. It revealed a reduction in stress and an increase in their immune systems. 

Life long participation in performing arts can build great friendships as well. People with similar interests often get along well and due to the amount of time you spend together, those friendships can last a lifetime.

“Especially when you’re in theater you are around these people pretty much every single day, and multiple hours a day. And a lot of times you just carry those friendships out of theater,” freshman Bianca Rodts said. 

Kaneland’s choir director, Bryan Kunstman, has been a part of choir programs for most of his life. Throughout all the opportunities and experiences that come with that he has met all different people, and made a lot of friends. 

“I would say that some of my closest friends are people I have performed with all the way from elementary school,” Kunstman said, “I see for my students the friendships they have made, the bonds they build through music.” 

Because many people, especially teens, participate in multiple performing arts they are one big community. In addition to being a great way to meet new people with similar interests, performing arts also teach many important life skills. 

“I have learned how to present myself in a way. I learned how important first impressions are and [I find] public speaking is much easier now,” junior Sydney Pflipsen, a member of both theater and choir, said.

First impressions are more important than we think sometimes. They shape the opinion you will have of a person for a long time. One should always show the best version of themselves until you have a steady relationship with a person. In any sort of job you might have, you will only be hired if the person interviewing you has a good first impression of you. 

“You also meet a lot of interesting people in those programs, so the more people you meet and the more you’re exposed to, the better understanding you have of the world around you,” Garcia said. 

Some of the skills that are important in performing arts such as public speaking, time management, empathy and teamwork, are also helpful outside of performing arts as well. They are life skills that will benefit you in whatever career you choose whether or not it relates to performing arts. 

“Growing up I was always on two paths,” Kunstman said. “I loved sports, I worked hard. Music was something I did but it wasn’t my passion. When I got to high school my choir director let me know he thought I should consider going into music. There was a lot of talented people, I didn’t think I was that talented so it was a surprise to me that he would pull me aside to say that.”

In high school, not everyone knows what they want to do as an adult, or what kind of person they want to be. It is important to take time to participate in the activities you love. Maybe you will find a career that didn’t occur to you before. 

English teacher Christina Staker is a Kaneland graduate. She participated in the plays, musicals and in choir during her time as a student. Now she works as the assistant director for the fall play and spring musical, and lead director for the winter play. 

“I feel like ever since I was a kid I always loved storytelling, that’s why I’m an english teacher,” Staker said. “I feel like theater is just another way to tell stories. To convey those emotions that can otherwise be hard to express. I feel like with storytelling of any kind it helps you feel like you are not alone, there is someone else feeling the same things that you are.”

However, although there are many positives of participation in performing arts, there are also some drawbacks. One such drawback is the amount of time they take during and after school and the impacts that causes academically.  

“It does make it more of a time crunch when I’m doing my homework [because] you don’t have as much time,” Garcia said. “I like to think it helps me academically, [because] like I said, music is good for your brain.” 

Life skills learned through participation, as well as positive impacts on your brain can help one during the school day. For choir at Kaneland, the only afterschool commitments are the concerts throughout the year and occasional dress rehearsals. Band has the same requirements as well as marching band and band camp. Choir and band Madrigals and other choir volunteers perform the annual Madrigal dinner during December. 

For theater, there are two plays and one musical each year. Rehearsals take place everyday after school for multiple hours. During rough tech and tech week right before a show, the hours are longer. During the months it takes to prepare for a show, the cast typically becomes very close. 

“Definitely the people are a huge aspect of it, [because] a good cast [makes] it a good experience and a good show,” Rodts said. 

Although not everyone who participates in the performing arts during high school continues after, a lot do in some way. Due to her love of theater, Pflipsen plans on going into film. Rodts plans to continue playing music and participating in theater in college. Staker loves being a theater director as well as an english teacher. 

“From a director’s standpoint I just love working with kids and helping them find their confidence. I feel like theater is where I found my confidence,” Staker said. 

Through the good and bad times, hard or joyful moments, performing arts at Kaneland has impacted so many students. The things they have learned and memories they have made they will take with them for the rest of their lives. 

“If you are ever thinking about getting into performing arts or trying to join a choir or thinking about doing a play during the summer or something I definitely recommend it. There’s no other experiences like it and it definitely has such a positive impact on your life,” Pflipsen said.

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About the Contributor
Clara Saros, Profile Editor