Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby
Back in April of 2014, I had a dream that our choir family from high school got together for a reunion of some sorts. I woke up crying because I knew there was a huge chance it wouldn’t ever happen.
Well, to my surprise, it actually sort of did. In May of 2014, my high school choir director, Ellen, retired from the school that she went on to teach at a few years after I graduated. Since it was a last minute decision, I couldn’t attend this wonderful “last concert” reunion sort of thing that her family was planning for her. When I saw photos and comments pertaining to the reunion, it seemed like it was a great time.
I was reminded of the great times I had in choir. The KMEA assessments, music festivals, trips to Philly & Atlanta, preparing for concerts and concert nights. I remember how powerful I felt when I had my black choir dress on with pearls. I still have all of the programs from each concert and any of the newspaper clippings that we were in.
Out of all of the concerts I attended, my senior year spring concert in 2004, had to of been the best. Prepping for that night was completely epic. One phone call turned into way too many and my mom’s sneakiness was figured out. She was trying to hide the fact that some of my family from Indiana was down for the concert.
The very last song that my group of seniors sang with the rest of the choir was “The Storm is Passing Over.” The weather was quite maddening and I will never forget the moment when I saw lightning out of the corner of my eye. As much as it was storming outside, it was definitely doing the same inside.
After the song was over, the choir members from my graduating class gathered around Ellen and Larry and sang several songs for them. It was such an emotional night. Both of them had such a positive impact on every single student that was a member of the choir. I know that I’m right when I say that for the majority of us, choir was one of the single happy moments of our high school lives.
For six years from 1998-2004: I was a teacher’s aide for a choir director, a part of the choir, helped out at every concert that I could, taught myself how to play piano, learned the history of music and composers, studied music theory, learned how to judge choirs at contests, choir stage presence and so much more.
After six years of nothing but music on my mind, I went on to study it my first year of college but then I stopped due to life taking me down another route. Unfortunately, I haven’t returned to music yet, but I’m almost always surrounded by song every day.
Music and lyrics alone are the gateway to someone’s soul, recollection and relatedness to and in life. It’s the one language that everyone speaks.
2019 UPDATE: Music has always been with me, especially as a poet/writer, but it wasn’t until Feb 2019 that after 15 years of being without music in my life–I’m back in.