Loving the Limelight: Student commits to three hours of performing arts classes

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Photo by Isabelle Allen.

Hope Brown, Features Editor

While some students at Blue Valley pursue one extracurricular endeavor, junior Lavanya Aggarwal participates in band, choir and theater.

Not only does Aggarwal take three Advanced Placement classes and one honors class, but she also devotes three hours of her day to performing arts — Symphonic Marching Band, Chorale and Advanced Repertory Theatre.

Aggarwal said involvement in these activities requires commitment outside of the school day.

“For band, I usually practice half-an-hour a day — the same thing for choir because I take private voice [lessons],” she said. “Drama [doesn’t require] practicing outside of school, but during school, you’re always running scenes and memorizing lines.”

Aggarwal has played the flute since fifth grade and has been enrolled in band since freshman year.

“During marching season we’re outside every single morning, and we’re here at 7 a.m. practicing,” she said. “Your feet have to be in time, and you have to be moving at the same pace as everyone else.”

Aggarwal said one of her favorite events with BV band is solo ensemble, an individual competition where band students perform for judges and receive a rating from four to one, one being the highest.

“I get to take a solo every year,” she said. “If you get a one at Regionals, then you go to State. [I received a one] last year at Regionals. I was sick for two weeks before [State], but I did manage to get a two.”

Aggarwal also attends solo ensemble for choir as an alto.

“At our school, we take soloists and small groups,” she said. “With small groups, you get to sing with all of the girls in your grade. It’s fun to sing a piece that you would normally have 60 to 80 people sing and cut it down to 24 people.”

Aggarwal said although she hasn’t attended solo ensemble as a soloist, she has been an alternate.

“We have a cap of 30 people that we can take for soloists, so hopefully I’ll be able to go this year,” she said.

Aggarwal has been involved in acting since middle school and partakes in the annual International Thespian Conference with all of the drama departments in Kansas.

“We attend sessions about different dramatic things and how to improve your craft,” she said. “We see shows, and we have competitions. A late night improv competition is something that they do. We have IE competitions which [are] individual events. You can take solos or monologues or duets or groups. You can either sing or act.”

Because of the time Aggarwal spends on performing arts, she was forced to take online classes to fulfill required credits for physical education, health and technology.

“Right now I have at least a semester’s worth of online credits,” she said. “I have a couple more classes to go. I’ll probably take some social studies [classes] online, too.”

Right now, Aggarwal doesn’t have concrete plans for her future in regards to performing arts, but she said she is still weighing all of her options.

“It would really be interesting if I could continue in college and continue professionally to do film or to make music,” Aggarwal said. “That would be fantastic. But if not, I think I’ll always have a passion for it and continue it on the side.”

Although these activities take up much of her schedule, Aggarwal said she is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a multitude of performing arts classes because of the lessons learned.

“I’ve learned that life is always a challenge because you’re always going to want to be better than somebody else,” she said. “It’s taught me that not everything is perfect because anything that relates to performing, you’re always working on this and working on that. There’s no such thing as perfection.”