Q&A: Madlambayan immersing self in performing arts

Coppell High School senior Max Madlambayan acts out a scene with junior Annelise Holguin during the choir’s annual Madrigal Feast titled “The Perfect Lie” in the CHS Commons on Friday. Madlambayan shows his love for the fine arts through the CHS theater and choir departments.

Mari Pletta

Coppell High School senior Max Madlambayan acts out a scene with junior Annelise Holguin during the choir’s annual Madrigal Feast titled “The Perfect Lie” in the CHS Commons on Friday. Madlambayan shows his love for the fine arts through the CHS theater and choir departments.

Joanne Kim, Staff Writer

Growing up in a household where he was encouraged to be loud and expressive, senior Max Madlambayan has learned to successfully channel his energy into a variety of performance groups. Currently, Madlambayan is president of the Coppell High School choir program, has a role in Madrigal, and is part of Polaris, an internationally recognized barbershop quartet. As the leader of the choir program, Madlambayan does his best to lead by example and make sure people understand how valuable the art of choir is. He is also involved as a performer in the theater program, though he is not officially enrolled in any of the classes. 

How long have you been involved in choir?

I have been in choir since sixth grade [at Coppell Middle School North], and I have been in it for all four years of high school. Choir has always been something that I love. In middle school, I certainly did not need any coercion into it, because it was something all my friends did, and it was something I gravitated towards because the people in it were extremely kind to me. It’s a program where like-minded people come [together] because we all understand what it’s like to have the same ambitions and goals.

What made you join so many different performing groups?

I personally don’t remember when I decided or what [made me] desire to be in these groups, but it’s just the fact I’ve always loved performing, and I needed a way to hone and sharpen my discipline and experience with it. I knew I couldn’t just get that from a single group, so I decided to venture out and join groups that aren’t just my local high school choir.

How much time do you spend practicing and rehearsing?

It depends, really. During the summer, I’m obviously not going to put in more than eight hours of practice a week. But once we get towards the winter and spring [seasons], when we have [Madrigals] and Vivace! shows, it definitely can add up to a 40-hour work week. It’s a full-time job outside of school.

What motivates you to practice so much?

I always felt hesitant as to whether or not I would do [choir], especially from eighth grade to freshman year. But then I met people like the seniors [freshman] year who made me understand it’s not a [matter] of if you’re good enough, it’s a [matter] of how much effort you’re going to put in. It truly is an individual effort first and foremost and then the friends and the people you love in it come after.

How has your experience in choir and different performing groups shaped you?

It’s certainly been influential. I can remember back in eighth grade when I was sort of going through that edgy My Chemical Romance period that we all go through. It’s certainly helped me understand I don’t have to be unhappy with who I am or what I think I can do, because it’s just shown me I’m allowed to be who I am. I can be loud, I can be expressive, and that doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to get tired of me.

What is it like to be part of an internationally recognized vocal quartet?

Kind of wack. [Polaris has] been to Las Vegas, Nashville, Austin a couple times and we’ve gone to Denton to help our middle school director, [Charlie Lotspeich], teach a seminar. We have [also gone to] Orlando at one point. The thing is, you sort of go around to these different cities across the nation and meet people, and it’s a certain type of recognition that, yes, there are going to be people who come up to you during these conventions and they know your name but you don’t know them, so it’s kind of like you’re a celebrity. But once you get back to Coppell, it’s sort of humbling because not a lot of people are like “Oh, you’re in a barbershop quartet? That’s really cool, tell me more about that!” It’s a nice way of being acknowledged and a nice way to perform. 

What do you love most about performing and singing?

I like performing because it feels sort of instinctual at this point. I grew up in a household where we were all encouraged to sing, do karaoke, act and be as wild and rambunctious as we could be. And the fact I was able to hone my tendency to be a little crazy is what drew me to performing. Because it’s not just “scream, sing, do whatever you want”. It’s “use all of these emotions and energies that you have and channel them”. It’s certainly not something I was capable of doing before I had these arts. 

How does attending CHS impact your identity?

CHS [and] its many programs and interesting and varying people have helped me become the performer and human being I am because it’s not a place like anywhere else. As opposed to other schools, no one isn’t going to make an impact on your life. Every single person I meet, every single person I glance at in the hallways, there’s always going to be certain parts of my personality that would be different had I not gone to Coppell and met all of these people.

Do you plan to be involved in performance and choir in college?

Well, the future is always hard to predict, especially considering that I’m going into engineering, which isn’t exactly a major that’s known for being light in terms of workload. It will be difficult for me to find an outlet to perform, but I certainly will try my best to find one because that’s just part of who I am, and that’s what CHS and Coppell Choir and Coppell Theater have ingrained in my mind. I do need some way to be acknowledged and validated, and [performing is] certainly not anything that’s going to disappear from my identity any time soon.

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