Leadership and Integrity: A Class of 2021 Senior Essay

By Ellie Rice

I had thought that my senior essay would have to be my final goodbye before I graduate from this organization. After this, I officially wouldn’t get to experience the joys of being a chorister anymore. I’d be released into the world, only to return for a few Town Hall concerts or maybe a Cabaret. Why would I want to write a goodbye letter when nothing about this year has provided me any sort of closure to prepare me for that? Goodbye implies uncertainty for the future, and we’ve all experienced enough uncertainty this past year to last a lifetime. So, I won’t be saying goodbye to the Seattle Girls Choir today, I’ll be saying thank you.

First off, I’d like to thank the little things: My beloved choir binder overstuffed with sheet music that helped me develop incredibly toned forearms. The veggie trays at Monday snack time, even if there wasn’t any hummus. All the chromatic solfege syllables, for occupying a very large portion of my brain. And the SGC sweatpants from 8th grade that have fused into my skin over the past year.

But all those things are insignificant compared to everything else I’ve loved about my time in choir. It’s the irreplaceable things that I’m most grateful for. I can’t think of another place that could have turned me into the person I am today. Singing in a choir requires trust, responsibility, musicianship, leadership, and integrity. As an Allegra assistant, I get to see choristers begin to grow those skills through SGC as I once did. I see them gain confidence, explore their creativity, and develop a love for music.

Choir friendships are so unique to any other type of bond. You get to know each other and trust each other and care for each other on a much deeper level. Maybe it’s because music is a cultural unifier, but in my opinion, it’s because nothing brings people together more than locking them in a church basement for 5+ hours a week– So thank you, SGC for fostering those relationships.

And lastly, to all the people that formed what the Seattle Girls Choir was for me: Jake, Stacia, Susanna, Meaghan, Sarra, Mr. Gagiu, and all the other faces that have passed through this organization during my time as a chorister. Thank you for teaching me solfege, sight-reading, and what a phrase looks like. Thank you for showing me what kind of person I want to be.

Luckily, I’ve learned that senior essays were never meant to be goodbyes. They are more like our “Bon Voyage Concerts” before tours. I get to summarize all the skills I’ve prepared, embark on my journey, and then come back with more stories to tell. I’ll still come back physically because the Cabaret is too much fun to pass up. But even if I end up on the other side of the globe, all the things I’ve learned from the Seattle Girls Choir are ingrained deep within my skin, so at this point, it would be impossible to truly leave.