In the pulpit

Seniors receive Grosse Pointe Memorial Church scholarship


CHASING A PASSION | Senior Kitty Clark sings in a choir concert in the Performing Arts Center. She said that she has been participating in choi for twelve years. “I hope to eventually become a singer of some sort,” Clark said. “And hopefully use my platform to help people of the world who are in impoverished situations."

By Michal Ruprecht, Sophie Kehrig, and Colin Haroutunian

Seniors Kitty Clark and Andrew Hallam have been involved in theatrical productions together since middle school. Through their participation in “The Pirates of Penzance,” both encountered a life-changing opportunity.

Each received a choir scholarship from the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, where their dreams of becoming professional singers became more achievable.

GPMC awards successful auditionees with $400 per semester for voice lessons. Hallam said the stipend is valuable because of upcoming college auditions.

“The scholarship will basically allow me to … have more voice lessons more often, which are super beneficial just towards growing how my voice sounds,” Hallam said. “When applying to schools, I can have a better opportunity to get in.”

To receive the scholarship, Clark and Hallam had to join the GPMC choir. They said developing their voices will allow them to turn their hobby into a career.

FRONT AND CENTER | Andrew Hallam performs at the 2017 Great Works Concert. Hallam said that it is his dream to go into Opera. ‘‘What I would really like to do, is go into opera. That would be ideal. I still have a lot to of practice… before I get there,’ Hallam said. “But I do know that if I was to achieve the goal of getting into the opera, whether it is the Detroit Opera House or the Metropolitan Opera, either would be absolutely amazing.”

“I just think that I have so much fun making the music that we do,” Hallam said. “I think that to do something that I love for a career would be just the best thing ever.”

Although both have been singing since elementary school, Clark said the GPMC choir allows her to work with older singers and practice religious songs. In addition, Clark said that joining the choir has impacted her schedule and work ethic.

She added that becoming a professional vocalist will allow her to give back to others.

“I love music. I think that art is culture, and I think that it’s such a great way for me to express myself, and I think it’s a universal language that everyone can speak and it’s just, it’s become my life,” Clark said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to have a voice that people will listen to and bring awareness to certain charities and start my own charities.”

Both Clark and Hallam said choir teacher Ben Henri encouraged them to pursue the scholarship. Hallam added that Henri has helped propel his career.

I did the spring musical freshman year, and that was how he was able to push me to getting into choir. And I am going to be forever grateful for that because if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now,” Hallam said. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think that I would have ever even gotten into music.”

In addition to Henri’s encouragement, Hallam and Clark said their families played an important role in their successes. Hallam’s mother, Susie Hallam, said she is proud that Andrew is pursuing a career he loves.

“I told Andrew that it is important to work towards a career that can afford you a stable financial life, but you must also love it, too,” Susie said via email. “The worst thing that you can do is go to school and get a degree in something that you don’t really love doing and end up with a job you hate.”

THE PERFORMANCE|The choir sings at the Grosse Pointe Memorial church. Clark said that in order to get the scholarship she had to try out. “I had to go in, I had to ll out a form, and I had to sing Silent Night for them, and do a few scales, and then I was o ered the
scholarship,” Clark said.

Both students said they hope underclassmen apply for the scholarship because of the benefits that come along with it. Andrew added that receiving the scholarship has provided him with an expanded outlook on society.

“Creators of the music come from different backgrounds and cultures,” Andrew said. “(Getting) a chance to sit down and learn that music, it’s really broadened my view on things, and I think that’s priceless in its own right, to be able to gain a more open perception of just the world around you.”