Seniors in the Spotlight: An Interview with James Finlen

At Saint Thomas Aquinas we offer students a wide array of activities, sports and programs that help fulfill their God-given potential and prepare them for success in college and life. As our seniors prepare to depart and set their sites on the next phase of their life, we want to share with you the positive impacts those programs have had on our students and the opportunities created.
Senior James Finlen has been a member of the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and Show Choir (“The Swinging’ Saints) all four years. In his time here as a Saint, his love for singing has grown leaps and bounds as have his successes as a performer. James was recently named a Finalist in the 2021 Johnson County Shooting Star competition for his performance of “Sonntag” by Johannes Brahms and was also named a State Choir finalist.
James, when did you first discover your love for music and singing?
I grew up listening to music, but it was in the fourth grade that I ‘discovered’ how much I really loved singing. Knowing that I can put a smile on someone’s face just by using the gift God gave me sparked a fire in me, creating a warmth that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I sing so that others can come to love music, just as I do. Music and singing have shaped me into who I am today.
Do you feel there is a stigma attached to boys & choir?
I don’t believe there is a stigma around boys and choir but I think that boys create one in their head out of fear of embarrassment and public shame. But the thing is, when you take that first step into the world of singing and music, that stigma is erased. The thought of not being cool or being shunned from friends is taken away as you discover your talents and the talents of those around you. In my four-year experience in Show Choir, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir, no one at this school has ever said there’s something wrong with being in choir.
Have you committed to a college? And will you continue singing?
I’ve committed to K-State. And yes, I will continue singing. I plan to major in Music Education and hope to make a career out of what I’ve learned about singing over the course of my life.
What would you tell incoming freshmen who might be interested in joining choir?
While choir may seem daunting, I can guarantee that you will fall in love with it. Michael Phelps wouldn’t have become the world’s greatest swimmer if he hadn’t first learned to swim. Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t be the superstar today if he hadn’t picked up a football. There is so much talent in every person who enters and exits this building and all it takes is that first step to brighten the world.
For more information, please visit our Performing Arts Department.