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The Perennial

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Simon Braun Reflects on Singing Career

Simon Braun

Many people at Pinewood may have never heard senior Simon Braun sing, but he has been doing just that for nearly 10 years. Known for his brash demeanor and unique sense of humor, one of his hidden talents is his dynamic vocal range and enchanting voice.

The Ragazzi Boys Chorus, a choir of 250 Bay Area boys that’s based in Redwood City, has a unique approach to teaching singing. By putting students through a rigorous 10-year singing process, children are transformed into singers. Those who cannot make the commitment have no choice but to drop out, leaving those who are genuinely passionate and devoted to the advancement of their singing abilities.

“We are a choir group that is so good because we get students from a young age,” Braun said.

What distinguishes Ragazzi, however, is the presence of a treble boys choir. At ages 14-15, boys’ voices change, leaving very few of them with the range to sing treble.

Ragazzi specially trains students from ages 7-8 with the intent of preserving their high ranges. This results in a very exclusive and advanced group, with opportunities to headline concerts throughout the world, such as in Italy, New York, Vienna and this summer, in the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Braun’s journey in Ragazzi started simple.

“According to my mom, from a very young age, I always liked to sing,” Braun said.

Braun’s budding passion was put to the test over the years as he worked his way through the tough yet undoubtedly rewarding Ragazzi Boys Chorus. After nearly 10 years of work, having learned 20 to 30 new choir songs per season, Braun considers himself fortunate to participate in Ragazzi.

“I find that whenever I go to the choir, all my fears and worries melt away,” Braun said.

He said he has found within himself a new appreciation for music that he will bring throughout life.

“It is one of the least scientific ideas that I can subscribe to: there is some sort of wizardry in music,” Braun said.

This is best shown through the deep connection formed between Braun and his choir.

“My choir mates and I, we have an odd dynamic,” Braun said.  “Though we don’t necessarily know each other that well, we know each other better than anyone else in the world.”

As the end of Braun’s time at Pinewood nears, he grows increasingly sure of the fact that his exposure to music and Ragazzi during his developmental years will make a lasting impression on his life.

Though he will not study music in college much like most Ragazzi graduates, he plans to join an ensemble.

It is difficult for most to keep music at the center of their entire lives, but Ragazzi gives the skills, as well as the group work ethic to empower its graduates to do so.

Braun says that loves music and finds it the most rewarding thing he has ever done.

“There is nothing more satisfying than singing a good choir song,” Braun said.

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