Force of Sisterhood: A Class of 2024 Senior Essay

Josie O’Brien

  • Bellevue High School, Class of 2024
  • Accomplishments: Youngest member to join Seattle Pro Musica
  • Post-graduation plans: Deferring college acceptance for a gap year, working at SGC next year as TA, Fall 2025 attending Berklee School Of Music to study Music Performance and Entrepreneurship

Moving across the country right before starting high school is a pretty uncommon experience, and let me tell you, it really rocks your world. In the whirlwind of a few misfortunes that greeted me upon my arrival in Seattle from Chicago circa 2020, one beacon of light emerged amidst the chaos—Seattle Girls Choir. This incredible community became my sanctuary as I navigated the waters of adolescence, illness, and relocation.

The challenges mounted as I grappled with the strife imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the onset of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. Yet, amidst the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged when I discovered SGC. Encouraged by my mother’s connection to Seattle Pro Musica and the enthusiastic endorsement of SGC by executive director at the time Meghan Leferink, I found myself standing outside Volunteer Park Seventh Day Adventist, waiting to audition, watching the members of Prime file out of their Wednesday rehearsal—a sight that would soon become all too familiar.

SGC has been my first experience in a women-led ensemble, and that has been so incredibly inspiring and fulfilling. Last season in Sorella we sang the säje tune Desert Song (säje is a vocal jazz ensemble consisting of four professional jazz singers, one of whom is an SGC alum and directed Sorella for a year). Another Sorella member shared the origin story behind the song and how säje had created it during their first artistic get together at an AirBnb in the desert. They wrote it about feeling overwhelmed and unsupported in a male-dominated jazz industry and how when they finally got together to collaborate, it felt like a welcoming wonderful force of sisterhood.  I listened to the song for the first time immediately following the story and burst into tears knowing that I had found my säje in the community of SGC.

Throughout my journey with SGC, music has been my anchor and my constant companion. Even when my Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension resurfaced this past winter, derailing my participation in the SGC season, I found solace in the knowledge that I had my passion for music and the unwavering support of the SGC community to guide me through. I would often go to the SGC YouTube page and watch videos of me performing with my closest friends in some of the darkest moments this past year. As I stand on the precipice of a new chapter, I carry with me the stories, the bonds, the musicality, and the inspiration of SGC. Each moment spent with this organization as a chorister has woven itself into the fabric of my being, shaping the person I am today and the person I aspire to be tomorrow.