There is absolutely no feeling in the world that can compare to the sensation that follows 28 American, teenaged choristers collectively skipping the second verse of Suite Judy Blue Eyes at a concert in Llangollen, Wales. We had just received less than ideal results in our second competition during the Eisteddfod International Choral Competition and, within an hour, were performing at another concert. In my ten year career in Seattle Girls Choir, there are countless smile-inducing moments, but thinking about that moment to this date brings the largest smile to my face.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve put off writing this essay for a while now. Attempting to write something that encapsulates my experience in SGC when I feel so distant from any true sentiment of closure is difficult, to say the least. Saying goodbye to the organization that has been a part of my life for more hours than probably anything else is not something I know how to do. Choir has been a constant for me since I was in third grade; it is an understatement to say it has shaped the woman I am today. The most coherent memories I have from elementary and middle school are pulling into the parking lot at the Volunteer Park Seventh Day Adventist Church, ready to greet friends and learn music, and I have no idea what Monday and Wednesday afternoons will look like without it, but I know this community has prepared me to take on the world, however cheesy that sounds.
To a lot of my out of choir friends and family, it seems like an oxymoron, an atheist Jewish girl spending six hours a week in a Seventh Day Adventist Church singing traditional and contemporary choral music. The response I’d like to give to them is that SGC has shaped the person I am today, just like other aspects of my identity. Choir can be difficult to understand to someone on the outside, someone who hasn’t experienced this sense of community. I cannot express in words the way I feel at the last Carmina Angelorum concert of a season, the feeling of bowing after a flawless performance in a 90 degree tent in Wales, the feeling of crying together after a heartbreaking political election, of performing a silly song or skit on the last night of camp, and so so much more.
To the faculty within this organization who have made my experience what it is; to Ms. Braund, To Mr. Gagiu, To Molly, To Susanna, To Sarra, To Jake, thank you for being a part of my musical education. To Stacia and Paula and Helen Gagiu, and every chaperone, thank you for caring so deeply about all of our well beings. To all of my fellow choristers, my sisters, and my best friends, thank you for being my reason to look forward to rehearsal. To all the younger choristers, I know SGC is a lot of work. I also know it is a lot of fun. To this entire organization, thank you for making an imprint on my life. I can’t wait to sing “Personent Hodie” at the next Winter Town Hall Concert.