If there were any hills in Houston, they would be alive with the sound of triple trios
Ian Gere ’20
The name “Triple Trio” is familiar around Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes, with the girls triple trio founded in 1983 and the boys triple trio founded in 1990. As an elite varsity vocal ensemble, the trios both spend one period of the day rehearsing, the girls during a class period while the boys practice during 8th period.
It has become a musical tradition at both schools for the two groups to combine into a Double Triple Trio for a variety of performances every year.
Becoming a part of the triple trio isn’t as easy as signing up. Those who sign up must audition in front of the current Triple Trio and choral directors Mr. Buckley and Mrs. Mendoza. An important element is that the auditions are blind, so the trios and choir directors determine the best singer based solely on their voice. The number of spots for the girls and boys trio varies every year, a new member of trio replaces a departed senior’s spot and is then in trio until senior year.
The audition task of singing scales determines the vocal range of the auditioning singer. After everyone has completed the scales, the next portion of the audition is singing in rounds. Three people auditioning stand up and each voice begins at different times so that different parts of the melody coincide in the different voices. These rounds determine which voices blend well because blending is an essential component to the triple trios’ style of singing.
After everyone has done their rounds, then trios decide on which voices sound and blend the best. Once a decision has been made the current seniors pass a token to a new trio member. For the girls it’s flowers. Meanwhile the boys have stuffed animals that have been passed down from boys trio to boys trio.
The day after auditions, there is typically a meeting about costumes for the group’s performance at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Each member’s costume is hand stitched with fabrics selected by the student.
As the costumes are being sewn in the summer, the new trio members are focusing on the sole purpose of trio: the music.
Since the Double Triple Trios are performers at the Texas Renaissance Festival, they are required to learn 20-plus pieces of Renaissance music on their own. The students are given binders filled with music and sent piano records of each song to help them learn their music.
The major highlight of the year for Triple Trios is performing at the Texas Renaissance Festival. The trios perform their own songs during choir concerts, such as the choir’s annual performance of the Messiah.
From entering trio and leaving trio, each members spends class time, time after school, weekends, and summer rehearsing. Managing school time and being a trio member is a challenging task, but for years students have been able to not only survive, but also to thrive as members of the Strake Jesuit-St. Agnes community.
This community is bidding a farewell to 5 “lords” and 4 “ladies” of the trios. However, it is exciting to contemplate what their replacements will bring to this elite ensemble.