PBA Kicks Off New Fall Carnival Tradition

On Saturday, October 29, PBA hosted its first Fall Carnival. The goals of this event were many: to increase our visibility in our neighborhood, to connect with both established and new members of the PBA community, to showcase the great work our afterschool and day school choirs have been doing this fall, to allow our 8th graders to raise money for their end-of-year trip and class gift, and – of course – to have an enormous amount of PBA-style fun.

Photo Credit: Amy Jensen

At 9 am, the campus opened to the public with games such as Wheel of Fortune, Ring Toss, Plinko, Penny Toss, and Giant Jenga. Participants were also welcome to create their own Veggie Pumpkin and compete for prizes in categories like Funniest. Scariest, Best Celebrity Lookalike, and Best Overall. At the Doughnut-on-a-String station, participants could pay for the sticky experience of eating a doughnut off a string (hands-free, of course), or they could enter in competitive mode and race their friends to the finish. All games distributed prize tickets to the winners, which could be redeemed at the Prize table.

Photo credit: Amy Jensen

At 10:00, the Haunted Escape Room opened. This attraction was the work of our middle school cohort, who spent several weeks planning and constructing an escape room that was loosely inspired by S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which they are studying in literature class. They transformed three of our classrooms nearly beyond recognition (see the photo below!), truly showcasing their creativity, teamwork, acting, and design skills.

Photo Credit: Bethany Edstrom

By noon, our campus was full of guests. Alumnus and current Chorus Manager and Concert Manager manned the grill, feeding the crowds hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs. A combined choir made up of our Minstrels, Intermezzi, and Cantori ensembles gave a delightful fall-themed concert at noon, and the Day School and High School Troubadors performed at 1:15. The day ended with a few more rounds of the Haunted Escape Room – some of our students and guests couldn’t stop clamoring for one more visit!

Photo credit: Amy Jensen

When I started teaching at PBA, I remember being told that PBA is “better known in Berlin than in Berkeley.” This is an obvious and justified complement to the incredible impressions our choir makes when we tour overseas, and we’re right to feel proud of our reputation abroad. But Berkeley deserves to know our name too – not to mention our neighbors right here in Oakland, and throughout the rest of the Bay Area.

Photo credit: Michael McNeil

Did you attend the Fall Carnival? Were you impressed by our boys’ creativity, their fun-loving spirit, their stage presence, their beautiful voices? Were you struck by the warmth of our community of children, families, teachers, and music lovers from many backgrounds? If so, please talk about us! We are always looking to forge new connections and grow our school and choirs. Our aim is to be the WORST-kept secret in the East Bay – will you help us meet that goal?

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