Senior Ana Sofia Has Been a Part of FHN’s Choir Program for Four Years


Credit to Sophie Stachula

Members of FHN’s choir practices during the school day on Dec. 14

By Melissa Guerrero-Bernal

Ana Sofia is in the choir program as President and a senior at Francis Howell North. She has been a member of Bella Voces since sophomore year and Knightsound for two years, making this her fourth year in the choir program. 

Sofia didn’t intend to join the choir as a freshman; in fact, she only joined for the fine art credit, but things quickly escalated. She grew in love the choir and music in general as the months passed. Sofia is now pursuing a career as a music director by majoring in the music industry.

Jennifer Oncken did a vocal reinvestment on Sofia after she discovered she was a soprano. Sofia has been an alto 2 since the fifth grade when she joined the high school choir she was able to sing all parts, including alto 1 and 2, soprano 1 and 2, and sometimes even tenor. Sofia was in a solo ensemble with her friend Cheyenne Leahr freshman year; they both received a two as a class, which is the second-highest level possible. 

Freshman year goals and aspirations grew throughout the months. Nina Bright, a senior at the time, was her Big and would always make soundtracks and put them to help her improve, and whenever she had a question, Bright would always make sure Sofia understood. Sofia’s life was transformed by Bright, who made music a lot easier for her.

 When Sofia was a sophomore, Voces 8, a group from England was in St. Louis on tour, as a group Sofia got to see the concert with the choir program, and that night she knew she wanted to major in music.

 They won gold in the All-State solo ensemble last year, which is a big deal. Sofia also made Metro 8 and SSA  two years in a row.  Currently, she is applying to colleges, and John Garret, a vocal coach, is helping Sofia with her college auditions. 

Oncken has always pushed Sofia to do better and has assisted her in achieving all of her goals, as has Dr. Grooms, who was Oncken’s music education director and has worked with the program on multiple occasions just to keep pushing the students to be better. 

Let’s talk about how difficult and challenging it can be now that all of these fun and exciting events have occurred. It can be difficult to ignore your mental thoughts when everyone is singing. “With music, the band can blame things on their instruments and say that it didn’t work because of a part of the instrument, but with vocal music, you can’t actually take it out and look at or fix it.” Something that you can’t fix or change is “difficult when it is all in your head”.  Sofia always had a hard time with fundamentals as in, matching pitch, rhythm, and sight-reading music was all very challenging to learn and to get it perfect. 

 Sofia is a great leader, making jokes and having fun is always a must to bond and create good memories and friends along the way, Sofia is a strong leader. “What makes Sofia so skilled and amazing is her confidence and hard work, when she knows she wants something she will work hard to get what she wants.” Chase Oncken, Sofia’s best friend, said. 

Sofia has learned how to play the piano, has gotten better at sight-reading skills, and can locate notes, all of which have helped her become a great section leader this year.

Ana’s best advice for anyone who wants to join Bella Voces, Knight sound, or just needs some inspiration is to work on fundamentals and practice daily. “I know they’re awful to work on because they’re really hard and annoying but they’re the most important things. Never back away from it because you can do it, anybody can do it, but you’re the only “you” so your the only one that’s going to ever sound like you, your the only one that’s ever going to do the same exact way you do it,”