When I think about one thing that defined my high school experience it has to be music. My life completely centered around music those years. I had always loved to sing and had been a part of chorus every year since 4th grade. In middle school I had branched out a bit and also entered NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) at which you sing for judges. I was good enough to go on to participate in the All County Chorus based on my performance.
In freshman year I was in the Chorus. That was the bottom rung that all freshman had to start in. We weren't allowed to audition for Chorale until sophomore year. So naturally I did and spent the next three years in Chorale. In junior year I also auditioned for Jazz Choir and made it. Jazz Choir was a smaller group and a lot of fun. I learned a lot. I continued to participate in NYSSMA as part of the Chorale and as a soloist and continued to be a part of All County Chorus.
That year I also auditioned for the school musical. We performed the musical "Annie", my suggestion, and I played the part of Pepper, "the mean orphan". Everyone was shocked and amazed at how shy and quiet me transformed into one big bully on stage. I had so much fun that year. The group of girls playing orphans (other than Annie herself) formed a great bond through it all and continued to be friends after.
Senior year was great. I was in Chorale, Jazz Choir, the musical (Hello Dolly, another suggestion by me) and also took a Music Theory class. Music Theory was really interesting and I actually composed a couple of songs. One was a silly little thing that I called "The Ballad of Pedro Convictavitch" after a character that my brother had made up once to tell our younger sister a story. (Pedro developed a life of his own as a running joke for many years.) The other was a melancholy piece that I called "Un Colpevole Innocente" which is, I believe, "A Guilty Innocent" in Italian. (My Music Theory class was right after my Italian class.)
In NYSSMA that year I performed a solo and two duets with a couple friends and made it to Area All State Chorus which was an awesome experience. The music was fiendishly difficult and after a weekend of practicing a performing I was hoarse for about a week. Hello Dolly was a lot of fun too. I could have taken a small speaking part, but instead I decided to turn it down and stay in the Chorus which was more fun. Lots of singing and dancing involved.
I wanted to go on into a musical theater program in college, but if truth be told I wasn't really good enough. No, that's not the truth. I wasn't confident enough. I didn't believe in myself enough and I didn't have the proper dedication to succeed. Alas.
I still look back on those music steeped years with fondness and longing. I've since come to realize that music wasn't my true calling. The writing that I long neglected was. Even so, my heart will always have a special place for music and for singing in particular.
If music be the food of love, play on.