Song Sisters | Juniors’ mutual love of music brings them closer as friends

Last summer, juniors Amara Lytle and Sara Goodenbour sang “Rewrite the Stars” from “The Greatest Showman” together at the Bill Riley Talent Show.

Juniors Amara Lytle and Sara Goodenbour have been good friends since their freshman year. Their mutual love of singing and the countless hours they’ve spent together rehearsing has only strengthened their bond as friends. “We share our love for music and singing, which I don’t have in common with most of my other friends. Without our passion for creating beautiful music, I feel like we wouldn’t be as close,” Goodenbour said. “Amara’s basically my other half, so doing music without her doesn’t seem possible. I’m extremely thankful for our friendship developed by choir.”

Lytle echoed the sentiment and said their friendship has only blossomed with each performance. “Jazz and choir have brought a lot closer together. With the big high school and so many classes, I am guaranteed one period with Sara and my friends. We always have something to talk about, and the fact that we share the love of music in a very similar way helps our friendship also,” Lytle said.

Lytle joined her school choir in the fourth grade while Goodenbour got involved in the sixth grade. For both of them, it was their first year trying out vocal jazz, but both girls agree they will be participating in it together next year. 

Both girls also agree that receiving Division I Ratings for multiple ensembles they’ve been a part of has been their best achievements in music. Goodenbour said it was a Division I rating with Lytle that really kickstarted their duo into multiple more performances together. “I was especially proud of the Division I rating Amara and I recieved for our duet. It was the first time we have sang together, and since then we’ve loved to perform together,” Goodenbour said. “I enjoy singing with Amara because we both understand the way our voices blend together and can create incredible harmonies. I couldn’t pick a better duet partner.”

At the recent pops concert, Lytle and Goodenbour returned to the stage together again to deliver an adorable performance of “Love is an Open Door” from “Frozen.” They sang the duet as a quartet with seniors DaQuevion Burke and Dalton Blackford. “When Amara and I first had the idea to get a group together and choose a piece of music that would fit our voices, I never thought we would have been so successful. Through much convincing and browsing YouTube for SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) arrangements of Disney songs, we finally formed our group,” Goodenbour said. “Although we had many unproductive rehearsals, everything came together for the audition, including our fabulous dance moves. I loved performing at the pops concert with three of my extremely talented best friends.”

Lytle agreed and said the experience was one to remember. “I would say the process was the most enjoyable part. Getting together out of school and working through the song was a lot of fun,” Lytle said.

Enjoying all that music has to offer her, Lytle said she wants to continue to develop as a singer. “I am a musician because I feel like I have some talents, and I want to keep growing in music because it is something I can take with me everywhere,” Lytle said. “I love how music can be so analytical at times and be so methodical, but at other times, it can be filled with emotion, and music is a great medium to share those emotions.”

Adding on to that, Lytle said singing brings a certain joy to her life that she would like to keep pursuing. “I would just say little moments of happiness associated with music or singing really remind me of why I like and inspire me to continue what I’m doing,” Lytle said.

Similar to her friend, Goodenbour said singing is an outlet in her life that brings her so much happiness. “I’m a musician because I love the way it makes me feel. When I’m upset or frustrated, I go to my piano, start to play and sing, and I immediately feel better,” Goodenbour said. “Singing takes me to a place where I can be the most vulnerable, raw and beautiful version of myself.” 

Dealing with the struggles of having heavy loads of homework her junior year, Goodenbour said music is an escape that no amount of words can describe its meaning to her. “The way I feel about music is indescribable. It’s something I do for myself. Unlike most things in my life, I don’t feel any pressure to be perfect when I’m singing. I let the notes of the pieces surround me, and it fills me with a sense of peace and happiness,” Goodenbour said. “There’s nothing I enjoy doing in my life more than music.”

Goodenbour said her love of music started early, back in elementary school when she attended Cedar Heights. Goodenbour said her music teacher, Ben Bartlett, made a significant difference in her life then and continues to today. “I vividly remember my first day of school in fifth grade when he approached me, asking me to audition to be part of the Opus Honor Choir. He told me, ‘I know you’re afraid and that’s OK, but you have the potential to be an amazing musician. I can sense it,’” Goodenbour said. 

As a scared fifth grader, Goodenbour said she was nervous to try out. “At this time, I liked to sing, but it wasn’t something I would choose to do on my own. Mr. Bartlett made me start to love music,” Goodenbour said. “After I got into the Opus Honor Choir, I began to have a new appreciation for music. I heard how beautiful music could be when hundreds of people sang together and knew from that moment on, I found my passion.” 

In 2015, Bartlett and two of his children died in a car accident. Goodenbour said she took the loss particularly hard. “The person who allowed me to discover how music changes people’s hearts, was gone. I felt so defeated and confused that I questioned even continuing my music career because I didn’t want to have a different teacher and do music without him,” Goodenbour said. “I soon realized that I was going to continue pursuing music because Mr. Bartlett believed in me. Even to this day, I still reflect on the things he has taught me and will never forget the love of music he shared with me.”

Although Lytle didn’t have a clear cut inspiration for getting into music, she said she found joy in it at an early age and let her passion for it blossom ever since. “I can’t say that there has been any specific person that inspired me to start or continue music, but the programs I have grown up with fostered my love for the musical arts,” Lytle said. “I attended St. Patrick for the first eight years of elementary school where there was a required musical every year. I loved participating in all the musicals. From there I joined the worship team and was fully into the music scene from that point on.”

Both girls are unsure where music will find its place in their futures, but they can’t say it hasn’t crossed their mind. “I am hoping to join a recreational choir in the future, but I don’t see myself pursuing music as a career,” Lytle said. 

“I’m not sure if I want to pursue it (music) as a career. I’ve considered it, though, but I definitely will be singing and doing music in my free time for the rest of my life,” Goodenbour said.

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