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The Talon

The Talon

Music’s impact on us

Unity and Vulnerability
Amelie Kerrigan
Ankeny’s Visual Adrenaline sings all together in the choir room.

Music is always around us. It is in the air when the birds chirp and the wind blows. It is in the water when it falls, streams, and trickles, everflowing. It is in the fire when it crackles and burns the wood. Music is natural and spiritual. Anybody can feel music’s influence, whether it’s a connection rooted in their being or the occasional sway to a song they hear in a car, a restaurant, or on the street. 

For some students and staff members at Ankeny High School, music is their life. They live and breathe it and dedicate themselves to learning about it. They perfect their singing techniques in choir, count steps tirelessly to sync up choreography in show choir, improvise notes on the spot for jazz band, and some of these students may not even be in choir or band. They have stories, talents, and passions that we don’t know about. For example, someone in your English class who happens to be an exceptional pianist. 

“The main thing is that I play piano for my church…my uncle, he’s been doing piano long before I was even born. I’ve been born and raised in the church and anytime I look there, he’s on the organ,” senior Josiah Goodlett said. “He’s on the piano. He’s playing it, you know? I think just having that connection very early on helped me a lot.” 

Josiah, or as his friends call him, Jojo, has been playing the piano for almost three years. From a very early age, he found a profound connection with music and the piano. 

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“My whole life has been structured almost around music because everybody in my family is musical. I have such a deep connection to that, that I needed to do piano.” Goodlett said. 

Growing up in the church and being raised around music, Goodlett stated that music is a “foundational” aspect of his life. 

“I got to start off my day with turning on the speaker and listening to music while I’m in the shower. It’s the only way to go. Music is probably one of my foundational things in life,” Goodlett said. 

For other students, the musical connection can come from a different place. Sophomore Lilian Monthei explained her journey in discovering her passion for singing and music. 

“She [Monthei’s mom] put me in piano with my neighbor and I was taking piano for a while, and, eventually, I was just like, ‘I hate piano,’” Monthei said. “It eventually shifted into rather than just playing piano every single day, into more so singing with the piano, and then that shifted into it being just vocals and then it was vocal lessons. And I loved that.”

Her journey does not end there. Since sixth grade, Monthei has been in the choir program and she continues to sing alongside her peers as a sophomore. 

“I’m always singing. Whether that’s cleaning my bedroom or folding my laundry, or if a good song comes on while I’m running, I’ll just start singing,” Monthei said.

It isn’t just Goodlett and Monthei who feel a deep tether to music. Students from various backgrounds find common ground in music and share similar feelings about performing and developing their knowledge as musicians.

“Music means to me a way to make friends and also a way to perform, a way to get better in a different aspect of my life, and music means a lot to me.” senior Noah Yeager said. 

Music is looked on fondly by these students. It isn’t just about the notes, the dances, the rhythms, the instruments, or the performance. It develops friendships and unifies us. 

“Music to me means getting to be with all my friends and people I love and getting to create something with them. Music is a universal language so it’s super unique and it’s just fun to work toward a common goal together.” senior Ava Sammons said. 

Unity and togetherness come easily and naturally with music. We come together to watch concerts in crowded venues, loudly sing songs in the car with our friends, and listen to music before, during, and after events like a wedding, a funeral, or a big game. It is, literally, the soundtrack to our lives. 

“I am married — have been married for three years — and the special music at our wedding was ‘Flower of Beauty. When I was in college my conductor was, like, ‘Every time you sing this song, you should think about who is the flower of beauty in your life. Think of who is the thing that you love most. Sing this song for them,’” choir director Adam Brown said. “And it was always my wife who I’d known since high school. She was my flower of beauty that I thought of. So we sang it at the wedding. Me and a bunch of my choir director friends, we all got together.”

For many, music can reflect and vulnerably state our feelings in ways that cannot be expressed otherwise. 

“As an educator, it’s like pulling that [passion] out of kids and helping people: kids, parents, community members get in touch with that side of themselves and opening up and being vulnerable…,” Brown said. 

Every person has a relationship with music. It may not be a deep one for everyone, but there is no denying that it is a part of everyone’s lives.

“Music is there. It’s like a reaction of the human spirit. It’s intimately tied to who we are as a people,” Brown said.

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    JosiahMay 23, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    Great article! It perfectly explains how beautiful and instrumental music is