Spreading cheer by singing out loud for everyone to hear

Junior Tennyson Tole writes, records, and releases her own individual music and lyrics



PRACTICING THE SONGS: Students in the steel drums class get together to practice playing their music. This was the first in-person rehearsals that was held and students were given the chance to either stay remote or practice in person.

Abbey Repka, Entertainment Editor

Music spreads throughout the room as junior Tennyson Tole rehearses her songs. Tole has been writing her own music and releasing it for all to hear.

Tole has been singing since she was eight years old. She started learning opera and writing her own songs when she was 12.

“I have always been a really creative person,” Tole said. “Once I got into middle school, I was obsessed with trying to learn how to play songs I was hearing on the radio on the piano, and eventually decided to try and write a song after I learned how to play chords.

Tole currently releases her music on Soundcloud, a popular music app that allows artists to upload their music for potential audiences.

“Having a form of progress that you can look back on and listen to is the best part about marking music,” Tole said. “It’s really cool to go back to my old songs from many years ago and see how much my voice, style, and quality has changed.”

Tole describes her music as a mix of indie, pop, and lo-fi and likes to write ballad-type songs.

“What I like most about Tennyson’s music is that it’s so light but it’s also well balanced and fresh,” senior Jennifer Doering said. “For example, her song ‘Other Side’ is so relaxing and calming that you actually take time to listen to the lyrics when they come up.”

Tole is currently in the varsity girl’s choir which has allowed her to learn many new skills and meet new friends.

“My favorite part of choir is working on music that everyone can enjoy and have fun while practicing,” Doering said. “I also like meeting new people during the concerts when we’re all backstage talking to each other.”

Tole has previously recorded music at Baylor University for a classical singing competition.

“When I recorded music at Baylor, it was for a competition called NATS. It is not open to the public, and the reason I was able to be there was because my voice teacher works there,” Tole said.

Choir teacher Aaron Bourgeois encourages all his students to explore creating their own music.

“I think besides performing music, students taking part in working on their own creation gives them a perspective of the challenges of songwriting, pride in creating their own unique compositions, and appreciation for the work of other composers because they now have that perspective,” Bourgeois said.

According to Bourgeois, any student who wants to make music should start now, and a good way to get started is to join a musical class.

“The more music a writer is exposed to, the more inspiration they have,” Bourgeois said.  “No matter what type of songwriting or music field [students] would like to be involved in, having time in a music classroom will only further [a student’s] abilities as a performer and a music learner.”

Bourgeois believes students wanting to make music should take the time to expose themselves to every type of music possible to help with inspiration.

“I love music wholeheartedly, and the things I learned watching live pop concerts or talking with amateur songwriters has given me even more perspective of music as a whole than my time in college for music,” Bourgeois said. “At the end of the day, it’s all music, and it’s all viable.”

Although Doering does not release her own music, she shows her support for Tole’s music in many ways.

“I support her music by listening to it on Soundcloud and by always being there for her to cheer her on during her performances and I will always support her in all of her music endeavors,” Doering said.

Junior Malaika Beg believes that Tole’s music is definitely something she can imagine hearing on the radio one day.

“It is unique and really incredible and I can tell she pours her heart and soul into her music,” Beg said.

According to Tole, there are many benefits of making music however there can also be many challenges.

“I deal with a lot of anxiety and perfectionism,” Tole said. “I have over 50 songs that I’ve started recording that haven’t been finished, and over 1,000 notes of songs that I’ve started writing lyrics for and probably won’t finish.”

Despite the challenges, Tole works hard to make sure her music is constantly growing and getting better.

“I definitely want to improve the quality, which has been noticeably happening because I just got a new microphone for Christmas,” Tole said.

In addition to releasing her music on Soundcloud, Tole has played her music in class for fellow students to hear.

“I absolutely love that [Tole] is pursuing these individual musical endeavors, and especially working on her own music is something that’s always super impressive to me,” Bourgeois said. “I never really wrote my own songs, so seeing one of my students able to do so is a cool new way to explore music.”