I am both grateful and slightly resentful that my parents never enrolled me in an organized activity as a child. Other kids had soccer portraits on the fridge, dance photos in frames, or piano trophies lining their walls. They had their thing, their talent, their descriptive adjective to put next to their name. These labels defined your life as a child, introduced you in icebreaker games, and instead of having one to call out, at any given time I would be entertaining three. I skipped through dozens of afterschool activities, trying on different hats of “Louise, the dancer” or “Louise, the pianist” whenever I pleased.
My parents may have seen me auditioning for Seattle Girls Choir as just another hat to try on, and I may have seen it that way too. I entered my audition only having sung through “My Country Tis of Thee” about three times, knowing very basic level theory, and mostly enchanted by the idea of becoming “Louise, the singer”.
As my time in SGC comes to a close, I recognize my naivete in thinking that I would simply become “Louise, the singer”. Through late night concerts, cramped rehearsal rooms, rushed entrances, and hours of intensives, SGC asks much more of their choristers. When tasked with seemingly endless pages of Christmas music, or when walking blindly through a forest, just being a singer doesn’t cut it. We have become true friends through shared hotel rooms, pre-concert warm ups, and post-concert bus singing. We have become teachers through theory lessons, fuzzy flip flops, and sectionals.
Of course, we become talented singers, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Becoming just a singer is what ninth grade Louise wanted as she stepped into her audition. A mini strawberry eater, a backstage dancer, a stargazer, a confidant, a friend, a teacher, and yes, a singer, is who I am now. SGC teaches all of us that one label doesn’t cut it, and rather to find pride in the multitudes that you can collect. Choral music is more beautiful when sung by many voices, just as all of us are more fascinating when described by many names. I leave SGC like all alumni before me – with the confidence found in becoming a singer, and just as importantly, so much more.