Although people who know me might find this hard to believe, I used to be a very shy kid. It wasn’t until my mom put me in theater camp during the summer before second grade when I found my voice, both literally and figuratively.
I subsequently joined choir and and dance in middle school in order to give myself the best possible chance at getting parts in the school plays, which wasn’t very successful. But singing and dancing, as well as theater camp, were all big parts of my middle school experience. Every activity or camp contributed to boosting my confidence during some of my most self-conscious years.
Soon after, I quit both dance and musical theater, but choir somehow stuck around longer than I expected it to. I didn’t consider myself a great singer, nor did I even like to sing, but I always used the excuse that “it’ll look good on college applications” as to why I still chose to be in choir.
I used to swear up and down that I was not a “choir kid.” Whereas many of my friends in choir were only involved in the music department, choir was always secondary to me. So I was the one who would cover the Visual and Performing Arts events for our town’s newspaper, and the one people would vent to about play rehearsals and callbacks. I could still be present in the happenings of the performing arts world without limiting myself to only being involved in that one thing.
I don’t think I truly understood how important choir was in my life until quarantine hit and the world lost all resemblance of normalcy. We had to go from singing in our choir room to singing over Zoom calls, and we were unsure if we would ever get to sing again as a group.
We were lucky to have a single concert outside on the girl’s soccer field in May of the following year. But all of our other concerts, along with our Disney trip we had been looking forward to for four years, were canceled.
I never thought anyone would ever see my cry over singing on a muddy soccer field, but that last concert was the first time I realized that my high school music career was coming to an end. After seven years of choir, this would be the last time I would get to sing with the friends I made back in the sixth grade. It was sad, but I was grateful for the closure that day brought me.
With that being said, I decided on that soccer field that I would not be joining choir in college.
It felt like a rash decision at the time, and it was something that I should have mentally revisited more than once, but I am fairly confident in saying that my singing days are over.
But when I really think about what kept me in choir, it wasn’t the music. It was the people I got to be with every day. Almost all of my friends were made in choir and I spent all of middle and high school growing with this group of people. We bonded over singing pieces in Latin that were almost an hour long and the same corny jokes our director would make year after year. The choir room was a safe space from the homework and tests and everything else high schoolers have to worry about, and for fifty minutes a day, we could just make music, and that was enough.
My mind goes back to middle school me, who was constantly cut from the school musicals no matter how hard she tried. She would be crushed and devastated, but always knew that she had a home in the choir room. No matter how bad she sang or how long it took her to get the music right, she had a family that was always there for her. Her confidence was bruised, but never broken, and she grew up to become a young woman who knew that rejection was just a next step in making her dreams possible. Music was never going to be the final destination, it was just another step in finding who I was and the type of person I was meant to be.
So, no, maybe I wasn’t a “choir kid.” But I am someone who was in choir, and I am a better person for doing it.
I am a firm believer that things come into our lives to teach us something, and choir was instrumental (pun intended) in so many lessons for me. But now that chapter has come to a close, and I am satisfied with letting it be. I will forever be grateful for the lessons that choir taught me, but I am ready to take what I have learned in music and take it wherever I end up next.