It’s hard to believe that high school was 5 years ago… almost to the day. I remember that graduating ceremony like it was 5 seconds ago: the girl I walked with, so nervous just to be up in front of the crowd, while I myself had to be front and center, all those years of choir and drama paying off with my lack of nervousness. As we sang one last choir song, and I took to the stage to perform yet another solo, these two performances would be my last encounter with people who were there for many of those memories I made in those last 4 years. 

The most I did with music in my freshman year was the musical. I took a year off from choir, just trying to see if it was something I really wanted for myself, discovering a lack of enjoyment without it. Footloose was the most fun I’d had that entire year, and I was lucky to be one of the three freshman girls to actually make it into the musical and onto the stage. As I played an old lady, I was always in the back ground, but just being there was enough for me. 

Of course, I had thought I’d be somewhere down stage in the years to follow, but that never happened. By the time I was a senior, the director decided to do a one woman show… or at least it felt like that, having to spend every second of rehearsal hearing the same voice I’d heard year after year.  I was sick of it, but didn’t want to quit just because I had landed yet another non existant role. My dad, however, was annoyed to the bone, replacing the name Aida with “the Katrina show,” and sitting out most of the performances we put on. My senior year musical was the one my parents showed up to the least… but I can’t say anyone blamed them, even the cast members were getting sick of the lead. 

All annoyances aside though, there were two other musicals that took up time during my sophomore and junior year, one of which was The Wizard of Oz, and the other being Anything Goes. These two were the performances where I had the most to do, in TWofO I actually had a singing part along with 3 other girls instead of 20. My parents showed up for this one the most because, despite her whining that she was only a tree… and a munchin.. and an ozian… and just about every other character with a line to sing, Katrina wasn’t front and center. Instead, the role of Dorothy was given to someone who deserved it, not only due to her voice, but also her personality. The effects were the best they’d ever been during those performances, and it was honestly one of my favorite experiences in High school drama. 

Anything Goes was probably the most aligned with my music taste… Jazz. I had a few talking lines in this musical, and a good amount of dancing performances… plus the songs were fun and upbeat. Backstage, I got to do makeup for the first time. On a guy, but stage makeup is very crucial to not being completely washed out looking with the spotlight on you. We ended up having the best cast and crew parties that year, everyone seemingly up for late night adventures after the performances were all said and done. There’s something special about the friendships you make on stage, you’ve both helped create this memory that you’ll hold on to for years, getting through it all side by side.

Drama was one of the high points in High school, but choir was where I found myself most comfortable. 

Sophomore year found me in the all girls Trebel Choir, an audition only class, but a relaxed environment nonetheless. Jazz was, of course, my favorite class in high school. It was a mixed choir, so it got pretty rowdy at times, but the music was always good. Every time I’d audition for and be given a solo, it was an absolute excitement. My first solo was in Trebel, sophomore year and it took place in the song “wash that man right outta my hair.” I was pretty pleased with my performance, but it was just the first of many, my favorite being the “jazz choir anthem,” as my teacher called it, “Seasons of Love,” from Rent. When I obtained that solo, over everyone else, it felt great. Choirs were the only place in the school where I could beat Katrina to a musical note, having a lower, jazzier, and more “black lady voice” as many would call it. 

Senior year, we put on a showchoir night with the jazz choir, a new kind of displine in the class. We all had to learn how to run around stage, dancing, while still maintaining enough breath to sing without lack of oxygen. It was the closest we’d come to a musical type of performance in choir, so it felt like drama and choir blending together to make something different. It was a wonderful experience to make something like that happen in the last year of high school, and it turned out fairly successful.

For the 4 years that I spent pursuing my love of music, I learned so much more about teamwork than I ever had in the sports I’d practiced in middle and elementary school. I’d been given a good range of songs to work on with some of the most gifted singers I’d experienced. Even taking on solos, you still needed to listen to the ones behind you, you still needed to learn to wait for the pianos queue. Solos may highlight one voice, but the dynamic of said solos are about so much more than just one voice. I absolutely loved performing with the choirs and helping out the entry choir when I could, music still means so much to me, and I’m happy to remember where it all began.

Thank you for standing up there with me,

Melissa

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