So my school choir, orchestra, and the theater group decided to join forces for a performance. I’m in all three! Help!

During my elementary school years, I was active in the performing arts. When I auditioned for the school play, I was informed that they would use pre-recorded background music. However, someone thought it would be better to have the orchestra play live music during the performance, and the choir instead of the performers of the play sing that some of the songs.

Now what was I supposed to do? I was a soprano in the choir; I was the violist (I played the viola, the violin’s cousin) in the orchestra; and I was an elephant in the school’s play “Jungle Book.” Drama dilemma!

The first thing I thought of was to quit choir and orchestra altogether to devote 100% of my time to the play and join again after it was over. However, I was the only viola player in the orchestra and the choir lacked more soprano singers. On the other hand, I pondered whether I should quit the play so I can do both choir and orchestra.

I asked my orchestra teachers about the situation and this is what they said, jokingly of course: “You could sing while playing the viola and wearing the huge floating tube.” During that time I actually believed that they were serious (I was younger alright?) and I really thought about it. I came to the conclusion that singing soprano while playing the viola isn’t an option either.

Funny how I was a viola player and a soprano singer—the soprano sings the higher notes while the viola plays the lower notes like an alto, so I would definitely be confused on the sound. And the viola is so huge under my elementary school jaw; I wouldn’t be able to open my mouth to sing anyway! Ultimately, I decided to quit the choir group and got my friend to pitch in so there wouldn’t be a lack of soprano singers (I owed her one chicken rice meal for lunch).


(Violin on the left, Viola on the right. I mean look at that! That is huge for a young child to put under his or her jaw and sing at the same time!)

And thank God I did! The amount of practice increased for all the groups! Prior to the collaboration, choir group’s practice day was Monday 3:30pm to 5:00pm while orchestra’s practice was on Wednesday 3:30pm to 5:00pm. (My school hours were 9:15am until 3:30pm). When the collaboration commenced, my orchestra practice increased to 3 times a week since it was our first time to perform with more than 3 songs, while the school play’s practice was 2 times a week but with lunchtime practices. The schedule was hectic! All I wanted that time was to run around playing with my friends in the field. However, I was highly dedicated to learning about the Viola more since it was unique, it was for the sake of becoming more independent (well, that was what I thought of when I was younger, but believing in responsibility and sticking to it was mature I guess).

We had to wear floating tubes and oversized grey onesies to look like an elephant. The grey face paint and big ears made it impossible to play the viola! I remember crying when I got grey colored face paint on my precious viola. The responsibilities of the costume department were finished before the day of the performance but some of them stayed in order to help people like me with our costumes. I was told to wear the costume while playing the first song of the Jungle Book but the person I was next to was my friend Shweta who was also in the same situation as me. Our floating tubes were bumping into each other and I think that made a funnier act than the cute jokes we had in the play itself. It certainly did make a scene.


(This is a onesie, in case anyone was wondering!)

On the day itself, I was running around like an elephant running away from a mouse, pun intended. After the first song, Shweta and I would run so fast towards the costume room and get our faces painted and all the other accessories put on carefully since we had less than 2 minutes to prepare! The moment we went on stage, we barely made it and we were sweating so much, most of the face paint dripped down our face. We looked at each other with a look of concern and fear. We really looked like sweating elephants running away from a mouse. Thankfully, the play was a “huge” success!

In conclusion, while being active in the performing arts scene in school, do not think you have to do all of them just because you are already a member, there is always next year! Before applying to groups, ensure that the schedule fits with yours. Always remember to take care and to do what you love. Cheers!



Maria Katrina Abastillas is the marketing communications assistant of Nautilus Studios. She studied grade school at the Overseas Family School, in international school in Singapore, where she was part of the school choir, orchestra and theater groups. She loves manga and romance stories, but most of all, she loves her cat.