Gabriela Mootz finds a family in choir

Music has been a part of junior Gabriela Mootz’s life.

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Gabriela Mootz finds a family in choir

Gabriela Mootz's favorite songs to sing. Art by Rory Knettles

Gabriela Mootz's favorite songs to sing. Art by Rory Knettles

Rory Knettles

Gabriela Mootz's favorite songs to sing. Art by Rory Knettles

Rory Knettles

Rory Knettles

Gabriela Mootz's favorite songs to sing. Art by Rory Knettles

Rory Knettles, Reporter

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Music has been a part of junior Gabriela Mootz’s life. Since she was young, her grandmother would take her to church  to sing in their choir. Throughout elementary and middle school though, she wasn’t in choir—she was in band. Mootz said she loved it, but she realized that she would rather pursue singing when she went on a band trip to New York.

“I met this doo-wop group, and I wanted to sing with them, so I just went up there and sang,” Mootz said. 

She joined choir at Juanita High School the following year. She said she doesn’t regret her decision to switch to choir, since through choir, she is able to connect more with herself. 

“[Choir] has really helped me work through hard times — music helps me get my emotions out,” Mootz said. 

She said her understanding of her emotions is greater now that she has an outlet to express them. Because of choir, things have fallen into place for Mootz, she said.

“I know now that I really want to pursue a career in music,” Mootz said. She doesn’t want just any career though—Mootz’s goal is to be an opera singer. 

“It’s what I see myself doing; I see myself on a stage,” Mootz said.

But Mootz said it wasn’t always this way. Her confidence to be able to perform in front of large groups of people stems from her experiences in choir.

“I actually have really bad stage fright,” Mootz said, “but choir taught me how to be a stage performer and how to have confidence in myself.”

Mootz said that choir students gain confidence in their abilities to perform and are also taught about various careers in music and how they can expand their skills.

Every year, choir students are taught how to write and record their own music.

“We write our own songs and then take [them] to a recording studio and record [them] professionally,” Mootz said. “It gives us opportunities to experience the industry.”

The recording of her song was not perfect, Mootz said, but it was an opportunity she said she would never give up. She said it inspired her to keep writing music she loves.

Since then, she’s written eight more songs. Mootz said she writes about the emotions she is unable to express with just words.

Mootz said that choir introduced her to songwriting and also to the drama program. Last year she auditioned for “Working: A Musical” because of the confidence she gained through choir performances.

“Both choir and theater helped me get over my nerves; theater gave me the chance to improve my singing abilities,” Mootz said.

According to Mootz, choir is something that you have to work on to be good at. Members have to be conscious of how they’re singing in order to put out their best work.

“People think that choir is just singing,” Mootz said, “but in order to see improvement at competitions, you actually have to work at your singing abilities.”

Despite the hard work, Mootz said her decision to switch to choir gave her the ability to form deeper connections with herself and other people.

“Choir feels like a family,” Mootz said, “they’ve gotten me through hard times — without [them], I don’t know where I’d be.”