In Defense of Underclassmen: Carillon

There are quite a few changes with this year’s Carillon performance, the Warde music program’s annual showcase of the semester’s efforts. Amongst these changes is a new type of invitation for underclassmen. A new type–meaning that none has been issued. The rumored reason–a punishment for the misbehavior the class of 2026 and 2027 exhibited at last year’s concert.

As a performer in Carillon, I appreciate the hard work all those involved put into it, and I understand how frustrating it is when audiences do not show the deserved respect. All that aside, I believe that the underclassmen deserve a second chance, and yes, I am aware that as a sophomore myself, this may be a biased statement. Even if I wasn’t personally invested, however, keeping half of the student body from a time-honored school tradition is simply unfair for a multitude of reasons. Yet since I only have so much space, I’ll only list a few.

High school is a place meant to foster student growth in areas beyond academics. How can students grow when they aren’t given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and do better? That being said, I agree that if this misbehavior persists for a second year amongst underclassmen, there would be merit to barring them. But to only give one chance? And to punish many for a few people’s mistakes? It doesn’t feel very Welcoming or Respectful, truth be told.

Underclassmen are already not given many privileges, with only one dance and very few class events, which is fine since that’s a part of what makes becoming an upperclassman mean something. But Carillon is different. Seeing it is such a special experience, arguably more so for the underclassmen. For those beginning their experience in one of Warde’s various ensembles, it offers a glimpse into the opportunities they can look forward to in the future. For the rest, it’s a chance to acknowledge how incredible Warde’s music programs are.

While some may argue that the underclassmen have already seen Carillon as eighth graders, I can testify that seeing Carillon as an actual Warde student is completely different. There’s a heightened excitement that comes alongside recognizing friends and fellow classmates to showcase their talents, one that may be missing when viewing the show as a middle schooler.

And yes, technically underclassmen can still get tickets to catch an evening performance. Still, this may prove to be a difficult alternative and might not even be an option for some. This is considering various vacation plans and the fact that a majority of underclassmen cannot drive. Allowing all students to view Carillon at school gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the incredible show. In contrast, maintaining this exclusionary policy is a disservice to the performers and conductors. Their audience is now cut in half, meaning that there is half of the amount of people to see what they have worked so hard for.

To conclude, if us underclassmen cannot get the privilege of seeing Carillon this year, at least give us the hope that next year’s underclassmen will be able to. After all, this is the time to be together…at the closing of the year.

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