My lovely choir members,
Over the course of the semester I have watched you grow so much; grow not only with music, but through life in general and as people. Recently, I've thought back to what choir means to me; what it means to me now and what it meant to me growing up. It's funny to me, because before I came to Behrend last Fall '08, I had been in a total of seven choirs growing up, and never once did I feel I completely fit in with everyone around me. In fact, I almost didn't join the choirs here at Behrend because of a fear that the same thing would continue to happen. Music and singing was always very important to me growing up, and I highly disliked that feeling; that feeling of not being able to connect with the other choir members around me. I was the girl who hardly talked to people in almost any of the choirs I was a part of. Not because I didn't want to, but because I felt so out of place. I would never wish that feeling on anyone, and I certainly hope that none of you feel that way. If you do, please, PLEASE contact me, Dr. Bishop, one of the other officers, or representatives.
When I joined concert and chamber choir here at Behrend last fall, I didn't talk to many people. To be honest, I was a bit shy at first. I made friends with one or two people, but for the most part, stuck to myself. By the end of the semester, I not only began to open up, but I started to really feel as if even though I wasn't that social, that I was fully a part of the choir. Last spring, that feeling began to grow, but it didn't come full blast for me until two weeks before the concert. I was severely sick in the hospital back home, and one day my mom came in to visit and told me I had mail. It was from Amanda, who's a Soprano and happens to be my roommate of one of my best friends. :) Inside was two cards, one from her, and one from the actual choir, who all signed a card wishing me to get better real soon. Honestly, I started to cry. It meant so much to me and always will for the rest of my life. I believe my exact words to my mom was, "I-I didn't realize how many of them actually cared about me..." It inspired me to fight even harder to get better not only for the sake of myself, my family/friends, and my future, but because I also wanted to be back here, with all of you, making wonderful and breathtaking music...I wanted to be with what became my musical family.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want everyone to know that nobody gets left behind in this choir. Everyone is an important and intricate asset. We cannot be a choir without any of you, because you all carry your own unique and thriving talent within you that this choir needs. Dr. Bishop, myself, the other officers and representatives care about you all so much. Your talent is overwhelming, and you certianly proved yourself in Harrisburg. Words can't express how proud I am of you all. Like I mentioned before, it's only uphill from here! :) I can thoroughly say how happy I was to further bond and get to know some of you that I hadn't known that well before, and I really hope we all can continue to grow and bond together. :)
Some of your representatives also have something they'd like to say to you:
Everyone has their own unique reasons for being in choir. For me, choir is a way to actually have 75 minutes to relax and enjoy something every day, but it has not always been this way. During my first semester in choir it was anything but relaxing. I constantly worried about who I was going to sit by, if I was going to sing the right notes, if someone was going to hear me and comment about it, etc., and last fall, for me, there was no defining moment when all those worries went away. Over the course of the semester I gradually stopped worrying about all that stuff and actually started to enjoy what we were doing, but this semester I believe I can pick a defining moment where we have all come together and started to actually enjoy choir, and that moment was the Harrisburg trip.
Not to say that before the Harrisburg trip there was an enormous problem, but instead I would say the word to use is no one was “clicking.” Rehearsals were extremely inconsistent. One rehearsal was excellent, the other not so excellent, but the problem has never been ability because we truly are an extremely talented group of individuals. Instead, nothing seemed to click. Maybe new members were still struggling to feel accepted, and maybe old members were still struggling to find ways to welcome in the new members effectively. However, the Harrisburg trip has solved this phenomenon. The choir bonded as a group and got to know each other so much better than we would have without a trip like this. I am extremely proud of how we bonded on the trip and I believe that these newly formed friendships are going to positively affect our music for the rest of the semester and hopefully into next semester as well!
It was great traveling with all of you and I look forward to the social events throughout the rest of the semester!
-Carl Aaron Sizer, Chamber Representative
I can personally say that i am very excited to be doing choir this semester. I have been singing in choir since elementary school and I am glad that I am able to continue my experience into college as well. Choir to me has always been a place were I can go and just have fun and create great friendships, that i may not have otherwise, if I weren't singing in choir. Now that were mid- way through our semester I feel that I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with many different types of people, especially after the Harrisburg trip. Our choir has come a long way since the beginning of the semester and I know that when it's time for our concert we will be even better.
-Sam Burton, Soprano Representative
As a new member this semester of the Penn State Behrend Choir, I joined with an open mind. Not knowing what to expect on my first day, I was ecstatic to see how dedicated Dr. Bishop was and some members of the choir already. The first week in both Concert Choir and Chamber Singers we seemed to be on the ball. We had an excellent attitude and did some awesome work. Once the semester started to get harder and more grueling we started to fade behind the curtains and just be a good choir instead of the great choir I heard so much about before school even began. Our choir's have the potential to be wonderful. We all, every single person in the choir, have the means to make a wonderful choir. Not a fair choir, not a good choir, but a GREAT choir. Some people may feel more involved, or more dedicated than others or even just more capable of musical performance than others but we must realize we all picked being in choir for specific reason, to sing. Unfortunately I was not able to be on the Harrisburg trip which I apologize for, since I was very ill, but I heard awesome news about it. Our officers and reps were very proud at how well the choir performed and how much they enjoyed the bonding experience the trip gave them, and hearing that news made me so extremely happy. Although, I was disappointed I had to miss it. I'm so excited for the rest of the semester and the next semester to come. We have a lot to look forward to, and I'm so thrilled to share it with all of you. Let’s keep on the great work and remember what our President Sonia said in her letter to us, Carpe Muscicam!
-Danielle Dortenzo, Alto Representative
I want to start with the Harrisburg trip. I thought it went extremely well. I was a little nervous about the whole thing but it turned out to be a great time. We performed well and had a ton of fun. Choir so far has been I great experience. I didn't know what to expect when I signed up, I just knew I really wanted to sing and hoped that so did everyone else. I was right, everyone loves to sing. I came from a high school that had an extremely small choir with very few decent singers. The majority of my former choir thought that it was a blow off class. It has been an enjoyable experience singing with others that have a passion for making music and are good at doing it. I am more than happy with the semester so far.
-Zach Cathcart, Tenor Representative
Coming from a small high school in western Pennsylvania where athletics were the highest priority, I had always thought that chorus was a joke. People were forced into my high school's chorus because the study halls were too full. There was never anyone who WANTED to sing and make music. Choir at Sharpsville High School was the note plunking experience that Dr. Bishop always warns us about. My director was a man with no personality who looked like an older version of Peter Griffon waving a baton and going through the motions. Joining chamber singers in my first semester at Penn State Behrend completely changed that perception of what a chorus SHOULD be. The Penn State Behrend Chorus, to me, is an extremely challenging and rewarding experience. It brings a diverse group of people together to create something so extraordinarily beautiful. It still baffles me that a group of individuals can make such gorgeous music in such a short amount of time.
-Chris Chovan, Bass Representative
As you can see, they all believe in you just as much as myself, the other officers, and Dr. Bishop do. I want to also remind you all that we are not music majors, and look at us! Look at the amazing talent among us, and the beautiful music that we create! It's baffling to me at times, but nonetheless, THESE choirs, the Penn State Behrend Choirs, they represent what a REAL choir should be, and you should, I hope, all be so proud to be a part of that. Keep on singing, and keep on shining! :)
Special Announcements for this week:
*This Saturday is the YPC Erie Songfest in which all of you must attend. Further information will be given this week.
*If you are unable to attend the YPC Erie Songfest Event due to attending the Penn State VS Ohio State game, do not forget that you must attend and participate in two YPC rehearsals. If you have not yet done so, please contact Dr. Bishop ASAP for more info.
*If any of you are interested in blogging and would like to let the choir know anything, please contact me through facebook, my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or in rehearsals, etc. We'd love, and I'm sure the choir would also love to hear what you have to say! :)
Until next time, I leave you with this, "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Your Publicity & Concert Manager,