Singer relishes last high school holiday season

Hinsdale Central senior Lauren Doppke will give her vocal chords a workout over the next couple weeks. A member of the school's Chamber Choir, she and her fellow vocalists are making joyful sounds all around the community.

"We're visiting Notre Dame Church (in Clarendon Hills) and we're going to a retirement home, as well," Doppke said. "We're doing an event (at Central) in the morning where we sing while people grab coffee.

"It's definitely a busy time," she added.

This week the group is gearing up for its Madrigal Concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, in the school's auditorium at 55th and Grant streets. Doppke especially enjoys the diversity of music on the program.

"We have all of our standard Christmas carols, but we're also singing a lot of different combinations of medieval music, which is interesting as well," she said, making special mention of "Fair Phyllis," a madrigal classic. "It features a lot of different harmonic rounds that go into it."

Doppke said she finds performing time-honored pieces from various periods enriching.

"We're singing all of these traditional Christmas carols and simultaneously singing lesser known - but arguably more traditional - ballads from the medieval era," she related.

The Chamber Choir is almost entirely seniors, Doppke noted, a testament to the resilience of a class that started high school with no in-person activities.

"Pretty rough," she remarked of remote schooling. "We didn't really have that foundational freshman choral experience."

Despite, or perhaps in response to, that adversity, choir members have demonstrated a firm commitment to their craft, Doppke said..

"I really respect a lot of my peers for the devotion that they have to choir and the time that they dedicate to it," she said.

Doppke's comfort projecting her voice also is useful as part of Central's debate team. Students Organized for Anti-Racism (SOAR) and Citizens Club are among her other areas of involvement.

"You have to learn to be confident in a lot of these clubs and learn to present something that you're proud of," she said.

Making music is something of a family pursuit.

"My mom's been a professional singer since she was 11. My dad plays the guitar and also sings. My older brother is currently majoring in music right now, and my younger brother is in (Central's) bass choir," she said.

The holiday season affords a special opportunity to unite their shared passion.

"I sing in my church choir around Christmas time with my family," Doppke said.

Doppke is thankful the college application process is behind her.

Wherever her path leads next, she said her love for singing will go with her. Doppke said high school has been a formative journey.

"I've very much appreciated the opportunity to partake in the arts with my peers and create something beautiful," she said. "It has made me a more soulful person and somebody who is able to connect with others through the arts.

"As I'm closing out my career as a senior, I'm doing all of these wonderful things," Doppke added. "It's melancholy, sure, but it's wonderful to be able to go out with such a string of concerts."

- story by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean