My Own Encounter With The Arts: An Emotional Memoir

In this captivating memoir, Sarah recounts all of the different chorus groups she has been in over the years, and the emotional journey of leaving one and joining the next.

By Sarah Synk

 

I’ve always been part of a chorus. Being part of a chorus is an awesome feeling, and when I am up on the stage singing (front row because I’m always the shortest), it is like I’m reaching toward the sun, which is my inner soul. I first joined chorus during my middle school years, in the eighth grade.  The teacher, Mrs. Legere, gave us really cool songs to learn, like “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from the Disney movie and musical The Lion King, written by Elton John. When middle school chorus was over, I felt extremely sad because I thought chorus would never be the same ever again.

Transitioning into freshman year of high school, I didn’t participate in the school’s chorus.  I simply just wanted to take a break from singing, so I just focused on the piano, my main instrument, and took lessons outside of school. I didn’t sign up for chorus because, one, I didn’t think chorus would be the same and, two, I didn’t know if I could  handle participating in a lot of performances.

Then came my  junior and senior years. I was in a lot of music classes: piano lab and chorus.

I was glad I joined. The chorus teacher, Mr. Goldman, was probably the coolest teacher I’ve ever had, and I learned that having a really good teacher makes a big difference. We sang a stunning version of “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green and a Hairspray medley. One gorgeous, sunny day, Mr. Goldman decided to be extra cool and brought the school’s piano outside so we could sing the Hairspray medley. I loved it! Even though we were supposed to sing in harmony– with me singing the Alto part — I decided to do something daring and belted the song, making my voice sound like a soprano. Surprisingly, it went well, with only a few voice cracks here and there.

Sarah with one of her chorus groups

Senior year of high school: It was officially over. I didn’t want it to end. The seniors who were part of the chorus got recognized on the high school’s stage at something called Encounters With The Arts, we all received pictures that were sealed in an envelope, and we were all together one last time, with the coolest band teacher, Dr. Cote, and the coolest chorus teacher, Mr. Goldman. We also received a water bottle with a music note; my water bottle was decorated green with a white treble clef. At Class Day, an award ceremony, we sang our national anthem “The Star- Spangled Banner,” and “Landslide.”

At Class Day, I distracted myself from the thought of leaving them, and I knew that was not the last, last, last day we would sing with each other. The next day, Graduation Day, was our last day. But we weren’t going to rehearse together anymore. I almost began to cry, but instead of crying, I smiled and giggled at the thought of leaving them.

Then, college.

I didn’t want to join another chorus, but I had to because I have to take music ensembles since it is required for my major (Visual and Performing Arts). I struggled with the thought of leaving my high school Chorus. However, my friends Matt Travers, Alex Gardner, and Erika Santiago helped fill the void of my being overwhelmed and sad in a new chorus filled with new people, who are now like a second family to me.

In college, I had this feeling I was not going to make any new friends because I am very shy, and I was surprised that I became friends with them! I participated with my chorus friends in two concerts during the winter semester. While the first concert the chorus performed in — it was called “A Winter’s Spirit: A Celebration In Song” and took place at at Worcester State University — was amazing, I forget what we did exactly that day, but I remember the second concert the most. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance, which was at Mechanic’s Hall, called Holiday “Pops.”

Our first rehearsal for the Holiday “Pops” Concert At Mechanics Hall was at Assumption College. My friend Alex offered to drive my other friends and I, and we got lost. Eventually, we found our way, and we rushed passed a Dunkin’ Donuts at Assumption and headed briskly into the rehearsal. There were so many chorus students! We got to have the opportunity to sing with combined choruses from Assumption, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Anna Maria college, as the concert program mentions. And guess who I saw there, at Assumption?

Someone from my old high school chorus! At first I didn’t want to ask if she went to my high school, but she asked me: “Oh wait- didn’t you go to my high school?!” I replied with a “yes.” I thought of the good times my old high school chorus had in Pennsylvania where we competed against other choirs.

Holiday “Pops” concert handout

The chorus member at Assumption and part of my old chorus helped me read the sheet music, and I remember being at Assumption hearing someone singing: “Oh Holy Night” which sounded beautiful! A few days after that first rehearsal, the next rehearsal was at Tuckerman Hall to prepare for the Mechanics Hall “Pops” Concert. After arriving, my friends and I checked in with Dr. Christie Nigro for the attendance then waited for other people to get there. As we were waiting, we chatted and had candy canes. Once everyone got there, we practiced the songs.

During one of the rehearsals at Mechanic Hall, I got to see an aerial view of the old pictures that decorated the whole hall and the wonderful old organ. I sang on a balcony wedged high above, and got to see everything perfectly clearly. I saw the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, where Dr. Christie Nigro was one of the cellist’s, and an Aerialist. I also got to see the special guest singers, and the other people from the combined choruses across the stage.

After that last rehearsal, the chorus got to take a break, and my friends Matt, Erika, and I managed to eat dinner before the concert. We ate at a pizza place and drank sodas. Afterwards, while checking the time, we went back to the concert hall. We got ready. The women of the chorus had to wear black dresses with red ribbons and black shoes. The men of the choruses had to wear tuxes.

At the concert, everyone filed back into the same seats and I got to see the perfect view again. The audience started filing in. I tried to look for my parents, but I couldn’t see them. When the concert started, beautiful music played. Then, before I knew it, the concert was over, and from what I remember, we ended with a sing along. At the end, I saw “Santa Claus” cheering the whole audience up, and going around saying, “Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!” It was good to have some holiday cheer.

When the concert was officially over, my parents saw me for a brief second, and said to me, “That was an amazing concert!” And after they saw my friends from chorus, they also said that the chorus had amazing people. This is a memory I will never forget. Thanks to Alex, Matt, and Erika for helping to fill in the void of leaving the high school chorus, and thank you to my middle school teacher Mrs. Legere, my high school Chorus teacher Mr. Goldman, and my Chorus professor Dr. Christie Nigro for the amazing memories. Thanks even to my high school band teacher Dr. Cote, too.

Keep singing, and have music close to your heart!

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