June 3rd, 2016
I would like to tell you the (thinly veiled) story of the girl who never expected to love the Chorus. When she first joined the spring of her freshman year, she pretty much hated it. There were so many rehearsals, she didn’t know anyone, they sang some really weird music (the most memorable being Cosmosis, the legendary tale of Arabella, the spider in space), and tour was less than great since she did not have much time pre-tour to memorize the music and was fighting a nasty cold. Needless to say, she was having a tough time adjusting to the group, and came very close to quitting once sophomore year rolled around. But then something interesting happened. She started making friends, Robert came to shake things up a bit, and she actually started enjoying herself. Of course, this took time, but soon enough she started going to Chariot nights and After Eight and Hangovers concerts, and on tours she really started to see the fun in it all. Soon enough, three years of musical inside jokes, snapping, complaining about DCA, and too many Evening Songs to count had passed and she was about to graduate. The Chorus had transformed her for the better, and she couldn’t imagine who she would be without it.
My story is just one of the stories the Chorus could tell from its rich, long history. The Chorus is first and foremost a group of people, but it’s what these people do together that makes it so special. This group transformed me from a shy, self-conscious girl into a confident, strong, loving, worldly woman, and it has transformed countless other members in similar ways. But the most impressive thing the Chorus has done is transform the people for whom we sing. We give them a piece of ourselves every time we perform; we make ourselves vulnerable for them, and in return they go away different people, even if it’s in the smallest of ways. One of my favorite parts about Chorus is the time we take to reflect on each performance. We spend part of every rehearsal that follows a performance sharing comments we’ve heard from friends, family, and strangers. The best comments we hear are claims of change—audience members report being transported to another realm; they see their struggles in a different light or come away with a completely different view of what treble ensembles can be. As wonderful as it is to hear these comments after every concert, what has really struck me is how the abundance of these kinds of comments has grown over the past four years. It’s clear to me that more and more people are falling in love with the Chorus as I did, and that is beyond exciting and inspiring.
We’ve come a long way as a group. I won’t go into our long history as many of you already know it, but I can speak to what I’ve seen in my short time with the group. I’ve seen us put more and more effort into our musical endeavors as we up the ante and command a growing presence in the world; I’ve seen us recognize our responsibility as a women’s group and fulfill that responsibility by advocating for women’s empowerment on campus, both individually and through events like Leading Ladies; I’ve seen us support each other through loss as we grieved the death of President Beth Garrett together; I’ve seen the joy we bring to each other and the joy we bring to others and it fills me with hope. We are a transformative group. It has been my honor to be part of the Chorus and to share in its almost 100-year-long history. I am so excited to call myself a Chorus alumna and to be joining your ranks, being a part of the traditions and supporting the Chorus through its next century of transforming others through music.
Amanda Hellwig ‘16