Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Made School Worthwhile

End of school for many and while attending an 8th grade graduation, I started thinking back all those years ago to my own school years. Did you have that one special class/club/organization that you still carry the fondest memories?

For me it was choir.

I was a choir kid as long as I can recall. (Before Glee was on TV making it so popular.) But those were my people and we all made it okay to be standing up and singing songs in multiple part harmonies. I did countless competitions (both as choir and solo/ensemble).  And this 43 year old geek still has every patch they made for each competition (yes…as if we were going to put it on a letter jacket like the football jocks).

1985 Choir Peeps
For me, choir was where I made some of my closest friends. It was the family you had once you entered the halls of the school. I always loved to sing, but there is something about singing in a group like that you can never experience again as an adult. The excitement from nailing a part that the director drilled into your head. The thrill of waiting for results to be posted when you are at competitions. The ‘knowing’ you can look into the eyes of a fellow choir member and they ‘get’ it. We traveled to Corpus Christi and Florida, and I was lucky enough to go to San Antonio when I made the Texas All-State Choir in ’87 which words could not describe. Choir was the reason movies like "Mr. Holland's Opus" grabs me in my gut and puts a catch in my throat as I watch the final scene. 

Many times people think in terms of awards when it comes to choir and ours got many. From Straight Ones & Sweepstakes (choir folks will get that one) at competitions to Grand Champions in Florida … to the Arion Award I received my senior year. (Which yes, I still have the medal and the pin.) But a special memento I own is a simple wooden “1” on a chain that was given to me my sophomore year and I wore around my neck during competitions every single year after that. A good luck of such that had been passed to me by an amazing person that I cherished more than they knew.

Such great memories. Such wonderful directors. Such awesome people.

I’m sending great thoughts to my former choir friends this weekend as Texans of all ages that were in GHS choirs from '75-’85 under the direction of Mr. Bragg gather for a reunion concert. I so wish I could be there as I know it is going to sound amazing as they get to recapture (for one night) that excitement and feeling of being a single unit with many voices.

“Think 1.”


  1. Yes, I do. In eighth grade my community sponsored a sports event for the middle school students, sort of a junior Olympics. I entered only one event, the 220 yard dash. My chief competitor was the jock from a neighboring school who seemed to excel at every sport and he played most of them. We were limited to four events in this particular contest, and by one half-step, I sent him home with three blue ribbons and his only red.

  2. These are the immeasurable benefits of arts in the schools that would be a shame to lose as bureaucracy tries cut back the funding for those "electives". I was not in choir as my singing voice was and still is terrible. Thanks to my choosing band over choir, I gave you all the chance to win those competitions. LOL However, band for me was the same sense of belonging and pride in accomplishment as you describe here. We also went to Florida and swept the competition and I did every solo and ensemble competition I could... and still have the medals/ribbons. Those shared memories and experiences are still with me today and helped me learn to work for a distant goal and not just focus on instant gratification. I really believe those of us who are involved in choir, band or orchestra are given so much beyond a musical education (which in itself is a gift), we are given a lifetime of knowing "we can do this if we work for it" and what more would you want to impart to someone.

    1. Absolutely true that band (or whatever other group someone may have been in) gave that feeling and lessons that we can take with us. (And if you notice: my example from Mr. Holland's Opus is band and yet it still gets to me simply because I know that experience.) :-) So glad you hold on to those memories too.