WE DID IT! Sorry for the emotions that are to follow, but just hear me out. Three years ago, I walked into James Clemens as a freshman who loved to sing. I had friends, but I didn't have a family. Then I walked into this place called the choir room. Little did I know that within a year, those kids I had class with would become my second family (squad). The ones I would cry with, laugh with, & love like my own brothers & sisters.
Our program was super tiny when we first started four short years ago & since no one knew who we were, we had to fight to get our name out there. Strained vocal chords, tears, & lots of cough drops went into the making of the JET choir. This year, we grew double our original size in numbers. The choir squad has grown, too, earning new members who have also become some of my best friends, though we may fight more like obnoxious siblings sometimes.
This weekend, we went to Nashville to compete in a choir competition. We weren't expecting anything because in the past, we hadn't won anything huge since we weren't a big choir like our competition. But we went anyways. Tonight, at the awards ceremony I had the privilege of getting to go up to accept whatever our choir received along with my friend, John. The award plaques kept getting handed out, but we weren't getting called. Third place, Silver. Second place, Gold. First place, Silver. John & I ended up being the last kids representing a school standing up there. However, something told me to keep that hope in me. Then the words got spoken. The words we had been dreaming of for four years. "And first place gold goes to...the James Clemens JET Concert Choir!" As John and I went up to accept the plaque, I had to hold back tears of joy. All our hard work had paid off. We went back to my choir teacher's table & showed him the plaque. The look on his face was priceless. OUR award. Not the band's, not the football team's. Not the cheerleading squad's or the basketball team's or even the robotics club's. It was OURS, the James Clemens JET Choir. Our director hugged us both, then we walked back to our friends, our second family, our squad with the plaque...and we screamed.
We screamed & hugged each other (and took a selfie with our award, of course). Then we ended up winning two more awards that night: Best Overall Choral Group & the Spirit of Nashville award. After we got all our awards, my friends & I were all admiring them & hugging each other. We had worked for YEARS to get this far. As I was texting my parents the good news, it gave me a second to stop & think of all we had accomplished in our short amount of time. That's when it hit me. I started crying (happy tears) & thanking God for this amazing bond that He has given me. Through music, through this organization, through this band of awkward, loud, probably-obnoxious-to-outsiders group of individuals who have become like family to me.
WE did this. WE won the awards & WE worked hard for them. I know I have talked a lot about this, but this is my life. My life as an alto, a singer, a teenager. THIS is a moment to remember because tonight, the underdogs won, y'all.
(Written as soon as I got home from the Nashville trip April 16, 2016...probably around midnight or so...so I guess it was written April 16th and 17th...okay cool...)