by Molly Mead ’14 –
Charlie Houmard, with the help of Tim Peck ’00 and several private lesson instructors, has crafted a music department that is determined to extend students’ musical skills and knowledge.
Chorus is an elective that is open to every student, new and returning, and admits more members at the start of every term. It’s an introductory class to the art of singing that focuses on the basics of music theory. Griff Tones is an a cappella ensemble that explores the nuances of group performance such as blending, dynamics, and stage presence. After a rigorous audition process in the spring, students are accepted to join and begin in the fall of the following school year. A demanding commitment, students in Griff Tones are required to stay in the group for the remainder of their time at Pomfret and must take two terms of private voice lessons each year. Biannually, the chorus and Griff Tones go on an international choral tour during spring break. They have gone all over the world to locations including Japan, Australia, and Prague. Singing in casual venues and cathedrals, the group meets and performs with local choirs while abroad. Mr. Houmard recently revealed that the next tour will be to Ireland in March of 2013.
My musical involvement at Pomfret has primarily been devoted to singing. I began my freshman year as an inexperienced vocalist enrolled in the chorus. Now, halfway through my sophomore year, I am taking my fourth term of private voice lessons, have traveled to Bolivia for last spring’s choral tour, and am a member of the Griff Tones. Mr. Houmard has been the driving force behind my achievements as a musician thus far. He persistently pointed me towards lessons when my voice was still developing and, even now, encourages me to open up and meet my vocal potential by gaining self-confidence through recital classes and solo performances. By introducing me to the musical world, Mr. Houmard has helped me gain an appreciation for the effort that goes into creating beautiful music. In Griff Tones, he teaches that it takes an endless dedication to the group and the selflessness to give everything you’ve got to make a song truly come alive.