All about Vibrato


Libby Hill, Photo Editor

Have you seen the variety of posters, some mirroring a Hamilton poster others featuring a cute fluffy dog, around the Upper School hallways? These are brought to the Upper School courtesy of the Vibrato staff, a group of Upper School students who review the many forms of work submitted to them to create a literary magazine each year. Submissions include photos, art, literature and other media such as video and music files.

Students’ work is judged anonymously, and the only attachment of identification to their work is their Student ID number so that it can be connected back to the student later in the process. Staff members consider each work by viewing it on a screen and discussing its merits.

Junior Leena Mehendale, a Vibrato editor-in-chief, said the staff takes care to be respectful when reviewing work.

“Although it seems harsh critiquing and reviewing other students’ work, the entire Vibrato staff treats each and every submitted piece with the utmost respect, reviewing as if the author was in the room (which oftentimes she is),” Mehendale said. 

Junior Seera Sohal said submitting her own poetry to Vibrato was exciting, but she was unsure whether it would be published. Both times she submitted, her poems were included in the magazine.

“The sensation was equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking,” Sohal said, “like the feeling you get on a roller coaster as it slowly ascends before coming to a halt. You know what will happen next, but you still can’t help but feel a little unsure.”

Vibrato staff members often submit their own work to be reviewed, and their peers review that work in the same way while the creator of the art or media is in the room. Sophomore staff member Lillian Rubarts said she was able to give it a shot and submit her own work anonymously.

“I think that sending my work to Vibrato is a step in the right direction to breaking out of my shell,” Rubarts said. “I know and am comfortable with Vibrato since I am part of the class, but it is still quite nerve-wracking because my staffmates are judging my work. Plus, it does feel extremely rewarding to have my teammates praise my work without knowing it’s me, which pushes me to work even harder!”

The staff chooses a theme in September, and they use it throughout the year to help organize and set the tone of the magazine.

“The theme does not decide what goes in the book, rather it is just an idea of what kind of experience we want the readers to have when they read it,” senior Doris Zhang, one of three editors-in-chief this year, said. “It informs our choice of colors, designs and layouts.”

A unique aspect of Vibrato is the lack of a prerequisite class before being on staff, which means freshmen are able to be in the class. Newspaper and yearbook require Introduction to Journalism before becoming a staff member.

“I wish people knew about how special and unique the magazine is to Hockaday’s community,” Mehendale said. “It truly is a showcase of all the special talents that Hockaday students possess, which is absolutely incredible! The sheer number of authors and artists in our community is immense, and I truly wish that the student body had the chance to appreciate this more.”

Junior and fellow editor-in-chief Catherine Stidham said being on the staff is rewarding in itself.

“It’s a super fun and talented group of people!” Stidham said. “We enjoy collaborating and hearing new ideas to incorporate into our magazine. We are open-minded, creative and are excited to see Vibrato take form.”