|The SMK PNZ Choral Speaking team performing their prose entitled|
"Getting Where You Want To Go."
Choral speaking consists of a group of 30 to 35 students speaking in unison. In essence, it is a speaking ensemble in which a group often uses various voice combinations and contrasts to bring out the meaning or tone of a passage of poetry or prose. It is a well-known art and activity in Malaysia, and students striving to learn and master English often join their school's choral speaking team. It is highly competitive, and it takes a great deal of dedication, patience and practice.
An English teacher approached me in late February and said, “Cikgu Rachael, so...you coach choral speaking this year?” I looked at him quite confused, which was a common occurrence in the early days of teaching at PNZ.
“Um… what is that?” I asked. He tried to explain in English, but, I must admit, that I was quite uncertain about what it entailed. But, never mind, I responded and said, “Of course I will.”
|The Form 5 SMK PNZ performers!|
He went onto explain that I needed to compose lyrics for the group and that practice would begin in March. Thus, it was no surprise that I spent that night searching Google like a mad woman trying to figure out what the art of choral speaking entailed and what lyrics needed to consist of.
Within a few days, I composed four pages of lyrics, successfully titled them and presented them back to the teacher. Several weeks later, we hosted try-outs, chose students and began practicing. Although I was the coach, I was definitely learning as we went along. Choral speaking was immensely new and different to me, so as the students learned new words and sayings from the lyrics, I was learning the art in itself.
|Form 3 performers and I!|
|My roommate, Nina, and I after the competition.|
Nina's school competed as well!
In late April, the competition was held and our school was chosen to perform first! The students were extremely nervous. However, after a group pep talk, they took the stage with their heads held high. As they performed on stage in unison, I beamed. I was so immensely proud of them. It was not long before at our first practice that they had struggled with pronunciation and tone. During the competition, they pronounced the words fluently and spoke with incredible inclination and voice.
The lyrics of the prose I composed were entitled “Getting Where You Want to Go.” All in all, it was about believing in oneself and staying true to one’s dreams. I wrote it as a way to set a positive tone for the remainder of the year! In fact, several of the lines became quite infamous around the school and students used them as inspirational quotes in their classrooms!
I am so proud of you, SMK PNZ Choral Speaking!
|Practice. Practice. Practice.|
|Dress rehearsal. The girl who is standing on the chair is known as the conductor.|