Clear and Strong Voices: A Class of 2022 Senior Essay

By Vesi Tsenkova

SGC has been an after school staple for me for years now, and choosing a single moment to encompass the entire experience is close to impossible. I could probably write a novel with the sheer number of stories, standout moments, and memories I have of this organization. However, I remember my very first choir camp the most vividly, and especially my very first time singing with PV. I was just entering Allegra and was finally old enough to go to the infamous sleep away choir camp everyone kept talking about. I had never been to a sleepaway camp before, and I was a little nervous to be away from my family, but mostly I was pumped.

The bus rides to camp are always a blast, from my very first to my last “normal” camp. We’d all split off in pairs and choose seats on the bus, wave at our parents, oo and ahh at how excited we are for the camp scavenger hunt, or another year of visiting the bunkers. But my very first year, I had no idea what to expect from the camp. All I knew was we were supposed to sing but… what else? What would the food be like ? Would we have free time to hang out? Should I have brought a swimsuit??? Spoiler alert, the food at camp was always fantastic, we had plenty of free time to hang out, and sadly no there wasn’t any use in packing a swimsuit.

My stand out moment from camp was singing grace for the very first time. For those who don’t know, before we eat anything at camp, we all stand up and sing grace. I didn’t know the grace all too well, my conductor had given us sheet music for it and we sang through it a few times during rehearsal but I still didn’t know the words or melody by heart the way I know it now. So when the first dinner came, after we all packed into the dining hall and the runners had finished with their introductions and announcements, Jake stepped up and motioned for us to stand and sing grace. It was the first time I had ever sung with PV or heard PV singing so close by. I remember being flanked by older choir singers on all sides, the sound of their clear and strong voices drowning out everything else. I was absolutely in love with that sound. I decided then and there I was going to stick with choir until I could sing with PV and hopefully inspire the same reaction for other young singers.

It’s unfortunate that I never got the normal PV experience due to the pandemic and to be honest, I’m not completely ready to leave the organization. I’ve hardly come to terms with the fact that this massive chapter of my life is coming to an end and having become that PV senior that my younger self was so infatuated with. But at the end of the day, I’m proud I made it and I’m glad that I had the chance to grow up with SGC as a focal point in my life. This organization has shaped who I am as a person. It’s motivated me to push through challenging times and put in my best efforts for the things I care about. It’s taught me about friendship and the hardships that come with it. I’m proud to say that who I am as a person today is one million times better than who I would have been without this organization. And for that I am forever grateful. Thank You SGC.