Junior Jillian Keen is an active participant in the arts program here at PHS. She plays a role in band, choir, theatre arts and was also part of the jazz band this past year. Keen played the saxophone in fifth grade, but quit shortly after and started singing with the choir her eighth grade year. The rest is history.
Keen’s first theatre performance was during her eighth grade year in the fall of 2013 in the auditorium.
“I’ve always been interested in singing, but I have never acted on it as much as I have since I got into high school. Thanks to Livi Sullivan and Keegan Anderson, I got to consider theater. They sort of talked me into auditions last year, and I actually got a lead role, which was Jane Banks in Mary Poppins. For band, I actually saw the 2015 show Under the Desert Sun, and ever since that, I told myself that I was going to join band, and I did,” said Keen.
Keen is a performer, and like all performers, she’s had her best performances and her worst performances. Keen’s best performance was a jazz concert on May 8th, 2017.
“My best performance would probably be the jazz concert. I got to sing ‘Georgia On My Mind’, and it was such a blast. I got the feel of how it felt to actually have accompaniment of my own and how it felt to actually sing jazz. I also got to reveal who I was as a vocalist and how I usually sing,” said Keen.
Keen’s personal worst performance was the high school choir’s Variety Show in May of 2017. They had recently gotten a new director and only had a month to prepare for this show, which would normally take 3-4 months to prepare for.
“When the time came to perform, no one knew what they were doing, and it was a complete mess. Honestly, it was a little embarrassing. Luckily, I was doing what I loved to do, so it didn’t phase me too much. However, the audience was a little disappointed,” said Keen.
Even though Keen experienced that bad performance, she still has faith that they can improve this year. This year, they will be much more prepared and organized for the performance.
“I have a feeling that next year will be way different. This time, we will be discussing it and assigning a show theme a few weeks before winter break rather than a month before May,” said Keen.
Keen has likes, dislikes and favorite parts about each one of these musical things she does. Her favorite musical activity is choir.
“My favorite part of the actual choir season would be when All State Choir auditions take place. It’s always the highlight of my year. If I get the chance to make it, I also get to exercise my ‘alto section leader rights’ by holding some lit sectionals for my section. However, my favorite part of choir itself would probably have to be the preparation of a concert and the concert itself. After a concert, I feel so accomplished. We just learned so much music and we performed it like a boss in front of a great audience,” said Keen.
Choir isn’t just about singing. It also involves being part of a group.
“Something I dislike about choir is probably the people I have to deal with on a daily basis. There are some people that are in our Varsity Chorale who probably shouldn’t be due to their attitude they constantly have. Also, no one wants to participate when they need to. It’s quite stressful when you’re one of the only ones who actually want to be there,” said Keen.
Keen was asked to imagine that she forgot her part at one of her performances and what she would do if that happened. She has a certain strategy she uses if she were to ever forget her part.
“I would try to improvise to my best ability. I’m not too great at improv, but I don’t actually suck at it. However, if I forgot my part during a choir concert, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably just mess up and carry on as if nothing ever happened. When one messes up on stage, or even marching on a field, the key is to act as if nothing happened,” said Keen.
Keen is a key performer at PHS. She’s performed in many shows, concerts and competitions, but this is not it for Keen. She plans to double major in music education and business while keeping music and performances in her future as well.
“I plan to get myself to college and double major in music education and business. My music education degree will help me become a choir teacher as well as help me get my performance degree. My business degree will help me to hopefully open my own recording studio or even run a music business,” said Keen.
Story by Angie Ceja