Alumni Corner: Sarah Decker
January 25, 2023
This month we’re catching up with alumna Sarah Decker (2000), who was a member of Intermediate Choir, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Chorale. Sarah currently resides in Denton, Texas, where she’s studying music at the University of North Texas and singing with local groups.
What Years Were You In LACC?
I was in LACC from January 2015 until I graduated in 2020.
Do you have any fond memories of song in your early life?
My mom sang to me and my siblings a lot growing up. We also listened to a lot of high-quality choral music on CDs that my parents have. Both of my parents love opera and classical music, so it’s no wonder that I ended up loving them, too!
How did you first get involved with LACC?
My older sister, Sophia, joined LACC when she was eleven, and she loved it. Hearing her gush about her experiences in LACC made me really want to join, too! So, as soon as my parents gave me the green light, I auditioned.
What is a favorite memory, tour, or concert experience with LACC?
My fondest memory of LACC was a rehearsal where we got a new arrangement of “Sail Away” and were instructed to go learn it in section circles. We all knew the song by heart because it’s an LACC classic, so the new sheet music was quickly disregarded as we all somehow ended up singing it in harmony from across the room. I love how that moment speaks to the culture at LACC.
How did LACC help prepare you for your current studies at the University of North Texas?
LACC kindled in me a love for excellent choral music. I love being challenged, and the LACC rehearsal room was one place throughout my middle and high school years that I was consistently pushed to be a better musician. When I was applying to music schools, the one question on my mind was, “where can I go to sing in a choir that’s even better than LACC?” A lot of schools didn’t make the cut! Now that I’m studying music full-time, skills I learned at LACC come in handy every day. LACC was where I first learned how to sight sing, conduct, and be a good choir member, so I don’t have to play catch-up in choir. I am immensely grateful for the high standard of musicianship my conductors in LACC always held me to. Thanks to them, I’m able to take full advantage of the musical opportunities I’ve had in college.
Read Sarah’s full profile here.
Are You Still Singing? What Else Are You Up to Now?
Yes! I sing with the UNT A Cappella Choir and early music choir, Vox Aquilae. At the time of this writing, I am also preparing for my junior voice recital. Outside of school, I am a section leader at St. John Paul II church and I lead our monthly Latin Mass choir.
Do you have any advice for current LACC choristers?
Treasure your time at LACC. I am surrounded by excellent musicians now that I’m in college, but very few of them have had the opportunities I’ve had: singing at the Hollywood Bowl, singing a solo at Walt Disney Concert Hall, performing alongside the best singers in the world, and more. Also, musicianship class is important!
What’s your favorite song?
My favorite song from my time at LACC is “Even When He is Silent.” When I’m listening to music on my own, “The Unforgettable Fire” by U2 is a go-to.
How has your experience as a performer prepared you for where you are now?
In my time at LACC, I performed with the LA Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale, and artists from LA Opera. Performing with major arts producers in the Los Angeles area taught me how to perform at a professional level. I also learned a lot about conducting and rehearsal technique by osmosis. Singing under the baton of world-class conductors at such an early age really gave me a head start on my current studies in music education.
What does LACC mean to you?
LACC was definitely a defining part of my life. Besides being my inspiration to pursue a professional career in music, it is an experience I share with my sister and my younger brothers, and we often talk fondly about our time in LACC. Sometimes, when my sister and I are together, we’ll sing pieces we learned in LACC!