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October 26, 2023

Vijay’s musical journey from classical Carnatic to choir cadences

Minori Kunte
Coppell High School junior Varsha Vijay has served as the Coppell Choir secretary for the past two years and is a member of A Capella Mixed Choir. Vijay is in her seventh year of choir and further pursues her passions by being a part of the Dallas Symphony Children’s Chorus.

Walking out of her choir audition, among the chaos and chatter of other students’ voices, Coppell High School junior Varsha Vijay sighs with the weight lifted off her shoulders, thinking, “I gave it my all.”

Vijay’s voyage into the realm of music began long before her high school days. Enveloped in the intricate melodies of Carnatic music, a form of classical music originating from Southern India, Varsha and her twin brother Surya Vijay’s roots in Carnatic music laid a robust foundation for her vocal talents. 

“I first started singing because my parents wanted me to have a connection to my culture, which they originally tried to have happen by enrolling us in Bharatanatyam [a form of South Indian classical dance] but my brother and I just weren’t able to do it,” Varsha said. “I really wanted to make my parents proud through music because of how happy they were to see both my brother and I try our best at succeeding in it.”

Her journey took a turn when she added choir as an elective in fifth grade at Valley Ranch Elementary School, interested in the prospect of exploring a new musical avenue.

Transitioning into sixth grade at Coppell Middle School East, the Vijay twins were both continuing music through the band program, however, Varsha’s love for choir grew deeper with her ultimately choosing vocal arts over band percussion. 

“I realized that my path was set in stone – I simply had a love for singing, and music was my calling,” Vijay said. “My motivation behind originally auditioning for choir at CHS was to make my family proud because when I did my freshman year solo, it was an opportunity I didn’t want to regret, to be up there singing by myself, especially as a way to show that I’m capable, confident and happy singing.”

By the time she entered Coppell High School, Vijay’s commitment to choir was steadfast, depicted through her involvement in varsity mixed and treble choirs. Starting in 2022, Vijay has been a part of the prestigious Dallas Symphony Children’s Chorus, which has given her the privilege of performing at the Meyerson Symphony Center numerous times.

As the secretary of the Coppell choir program for the past two years, Vijay has been essential in nurturing the ensemble’s collaborative spirit, along with having many valuable mentors to help her along the way. 

“Overall, I love Varsha’s personality and honestly, she is probably the sweetest underclassman I know,” senior choir historian Divya Ghanta said. “Whenever she sees me, she always has a smile and gives me a hug. Just seeing her makes my day better because I know that she is someone I can laugh and have a good time with.”

Coppell High School junior Varsha Vijay has been the Coppell Choir secretary and a part of the Dallas Symphony Children’s Chorus for the past two years. Vijay has been in choir for seven years and is a Red Jacket for the 2024-25 school year. (Minori Kunte)

Despite her introverted nature, Vijay’s leadership style is defined by having strong compassion, sincerity and service to others. 

“I remember being so proud of how Varsha handled herself with how far she got into the TMEA audition process, around a year ago, especially because of how nervous she was beforehand,” Ghanta said. “Varsha takes a lot of responsibility for herself, however, she is always humble as a leader. She goes above and beyond in completing her duties without having to be the loudest person in the room or not caring whether she gets credited for it.” 

Each week, Vijay practices singing around six to seven hours per week, through her choir period, weekly morning rehearsals, bi-weekly officer meetings and by spending one hour in her own time sight reading and running through various monthly singing assignments.

“What makes Varsha so special is how she puts her 100 percent effort into each rehearsal,” Coppell Choir director Bona Coogle said. “Other choir members and us, as directors, are inspired to work harder and pick up the energy she gives off as we see Varsha come into the choir room with a smile on her face and a great attitude; I don’t even have to worry about what song she is working on because she is always working diligently.”

Vijay’s involvement within the school extends beyond the walls of the choir room, as she is currently the National Honor Society vice president, has been re-elected to be the president of NHS and is a newly inducted Red Jacket for the upcoming 2024-25 school year.

“To me, leadership is not about asserting your dominance or trying to be known for what you do. Instead, it is being passionate and genuinely caring for the people within the organization you are serving,” Vijay said. “Being a leader is showing that you’re capable, not to boast, but to set a foundation to ensure every voice gets acknowledged.”

In the upcoming 2024-25 school year, Vijay will remain an officer in the choir program and hopes to become a  Madrigal to end her senior year strong.

“Varsha has shown so much personal growth within choir, not only through her singing, which I’ve heard improve over the years, starting from the time of her TMEA auditions last year, but she has become more confident as a person,” Ghanta said. “It’s been amazing to see her find her place in our choir family, and personally, Varsha really is such a light in my life and the same goes for many others as well.”

Follow @rhea_choud and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Rhea Choudhary
Rhea Choudhary, Staff Writer
Rhea Choudhary is a junior at Coppell High School; she first took a step in D115 in order to pursue photography for The Sidekick. Despite her initial intentions, she is now a second year member, returning as a staff writer. At first, thought she wasn't the best fit for writing, but after deciding to give it a shot, she soon realized that she let her fear keep her from finding what she truly enjoys doing!  As an avid show binger, Rhea’s top three shows include Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill, as she can go on for hours talking about any of them. She also loves watching classic Hindi movies (with lots of iconic songs and actors in them), along with consistently enjoying listening to her 24-hour Bollywood music playlist, on a loop. Her favorite food is drunken noodles and sushi, along with loving any sweets that contain milk chocolate or caramel. As a member of HOSA, Rhea hopes to pursue a future career in medicine, specifically to become an oncologist. Rhea has completed her Bharatanatyam arangetram, a solo debut/graduation, and is still a dedicated dancer. As an only child that keeps the volume in her house very high at all times, Rhea’s number one friend is Teddy Graham, her mini goldendoodle. Feel free to reach Rhea at [email protected] or follow her on X @rhea_choud.
Minori Kunte
Minori Kunte, Staff Cartoonist
Minori Kunte is a junior and the staff cartoonist for The Sidekick. She spends her time singing for the Madrigals and A Capella. In her free time outside of school, she enjoys painting scenic locations she’s spotted and making vlogs of her vacations for herself and her family to watch. Her favorite movie of all time is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. She enjoys watching Anne With An E and The 100, while snacking on Brookside Acai Dark Chocolate and Skinny Pop. She feels inspired when looking at art made by Anna-Laura Sullivan and Bob Ross. You can contact her at [email protected]

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