Artist of the Issue: Sam Brock ’21
Sam Brock ’21 started his career as a choral singer at his old high school in Barrington, Rhode Island.
Since then, he has poured hours into perfecting his craft, and now performs in the Hopkins Concert choir as its co-president. Brock attributes the start of his musical career to a choir class he took during his freshman year at Barrington. “I got accepted into their choral ensemble which is a big step up from the choir. In middle school, I was in the band and chorus but I barely tried because it was very easy and we only played three pieces per concert. Once I got into this new program, we started doing Christmas carols, singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ at assemblies, and performing ten songs during concerts instead of three, which was really challenging and exciting.”
When Brock arrived at Hopkins at the beginning of his sophomore year, he immediately joined Concert Choir, where he met one of his favorite teachers, Erika Schroth. “When I was new to choir, she realized that I wanted to do even more singing and she researched extracurricular opportunities to get me into my church choir, which I really love,” said Brock. “Ms. Schroth also got me involved with CMEA, which stands for Connecticut Music Educators Association and is connected to All-States.” Brock also says that his involvement with the CMEA introduced him to many new friends, some of whom also attend Hopkins.
Brock believes that COVID-19’s impact on choir has been “devastating.” He reflected,“the thing about COVID and singing is that it’s actually extra dangerous because, when you’re singing, you’re more likely to spread aerosols, which stick around in the air and infect people even after you leave the room.” Another issue arises from the hybrid model Hopkins is currently following. “On Zoom, signals take time to travel so if you and I are singing together, to you, it sounds like I am singing two seconds late, so Zoom isn’t really a reliable option.” Currently, Schroth has each member of the choir record themselves singing and submit a video to her. The videos are combined to form a single video. When asked how he feels about the videos, Brock said, “If there is a silver lining of COVID virtual performances, it’s definitely how powerful the videos are. Even though they’re a hundred times harder to put together than a typical performance, the experience of watching them can really lift people up during the pandemic. The fact that a group of singers is willing to put in so much effort to join their voices and lift up others, even when it’s done through a computer screen, is really inspiring.”
With winter break around the corner, Brock said that he is still looking forward to singing Christmas carols, even though they recently got moved online. He said, “This winter break is going to be the first one with Covid and I think normally it’s such a blissful time of the year for everyone. At the end of the Five Golden Rings Assembly I’m always filled with such excitement and joy and I feel like that’s definitely going to be a low point of this year.”
In selecting his preferred repertoire, Brock said that he is inspired by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and other classical musicians. “I think the main reason I am more attracted to classical music rather than pop is because pop music puts more emphasis on a soloist and the lyrics that they are singing. While I think that is cool, I prefer classical music for the chords and when you have S.A.T.B. (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) music, which is much more common among choirs, there’s a lot more to look at in terms of how the parts interact with each other.”
Brock loves to make people happy through music: “When it’s time to perform, I really like it when people say that the music has affected them in some way or made them happy. It’s what I live for.” He hopes that he will be able to share the joy of music with others in person come springtime.