I’ve been in a choir for as long as I can remember. Partly because I love singing and partly to please my mother, I always joined my school’s choral group and sang my heart out. However, I never particularly enjoyed it. Either the people would annoy me as they tried to outshine each other or I would get tired of being the only one who had the songs memorized.
Then, I went to college. And, suddenly, I didn’t have to please anyone except myself. For my first year and a half at Southern Virginia University, I stayed away from choir. Until this past semester. I don’t know what changed, but something did. I missed it. I missed that rush of adrenaline that I always got before climbing the risers and taking my place on the stand. I missed the wobbling of voices as we struggled to overcome our nerves and find our notes. I missed all of it.
And that, my friends, is how I found myself signing up for Concert Chorale. I auditioned, got in, and there I was, somehow back in choir. It scared me, to be honest. I still remember that first day of wondering if I was even in the right place for class and struggling to find someone I knew that was singing the same part as me, so I could sit by them for the rest of the semester. Luckily for me, I located my friend Karlie pretty quickly and promptly attached myself to her hip.
It was simple after that. We got our seats and our music and it was beautiful. It wasn’t perfect, not for awhile, but it was beautiful. You could feel the passion and heart in between awkwardly off-tune singing and high notes that we didn’t quite hit. It was a feeling that I won’t forget anytime soon.
We had our concert last month for Spring Semester and it was amazing. From the standard black formal dress code to the crowded auditorium, it was perfect. It made every tiring rehearsal and all those nights where my throat hurt from practicing so worth it. We stayed in Hilltop while Bella Voce sang and when they were nearing their final songs, we lined up at the stairs and prepared to go on. We walked to the risers and took our places and waited silently until Dr. Carter nodded and raised her arms. When we started singing, it was dead quiet except for us. I think that’s what made our first song, the last two pieces of “Carmina Burana,” sound so powerful. It was almost haunting in a way. We went through the rest of our songs, including my personal favorite “Wade in the Water,” and it was beautiful. It was a really great experience and I am so thankful I gave choir another chance.
Thank you, Dr. Carter, for being the Albus Dumbledore of music. Thank you for letting me sing my heart out again and actually enjoy it. Thank you for showing me that choir can be passionate, that it can mean something. Thank you for being so understanding. Thank you for showing me that music can be felt in Russian just as strongly as it can be felt in English. But most of all, thank you for making me work hard. The outcome was definitely worth it.
(Post by Molly Hall. Photos by Sarah Foster ’19.)