The sun has long since set, and the fine arts wing is full of music. At the center of the brightly lit chorus room, a group of boys stand clustered around a keyboard, singing and clapping in rhythm. Rich harmonies float through the air, part of their arrangement of “Hey Jude.” This music is no unusual occurrence—the Testostertones are having their regular Thursday night rehearsal.
The Testostertones, or T-Tones, are WHS’ all-male a cappella group, made up of 12 students. They are student-run, meaning the group’s student directors decide on songs, run rehearsals and manage the group.
The three directors — seniors Dan Pachter, Anthony Schleppi and Ben Slater — choose songs for the group to perform. One of the three will then arrange and direct it.
Arranging a song requires a lot of work, as each member of the group has his own individual part to sing; however, Schleppi says that the process runs smoothly once everyone has learned their parts.
“Once we get all that set, we put it together, and that’s what you hear on stage,” Schleppi said. “We’re always thinking about what we can do to improve the group.”
As part of this year’s Winter Week, the T-Tones performed in the WHS student-staff talent show and an a cappella concert.
The T-Tones practice on Sunday and Thursday nights. During rehearsals, directors teach group members each song, and the group runs songs together, working on specific sections as needed.
According to junior Omar Rios, rehearsals are lighthearted but serious enough that the group still makes progress.
“We always have fun [in rehearsal]. We fool around sometimes, but we’ll be serious when we need to be,” Rios said.
Five members of last year’s T-Tones graduated in June, meaning the group had many spots to fill. One of those spots went to Rios, who auditioned in the fall.
“[Auditioning] was pretty intimidating,” Rios said. “I wanted to get in, but there were so many people who were better.”
The audition tests prospective members’ vocal range, solo voice and ability to harmonize, as well as how they sound with the rest of the group.
The T-Tones’ directors were looking for voices that could fill out the group, but they also wanted something else.
“[Our goal is] getting [last year’s] sound back and that overall presence that we lost [after] last year,” Pachter said. “Everyone’s willing to succeed.”
So far, the directors believe the group is on the right track.
“We have a lot of really strong personalities that blend well together,” Slater said. “We’re really focusing on getting our stage presence going and putting on a good performance.”