...I'm going to college! Here's the essay that got my butt into UMiami!
We stood on the street corner in the middle of the city. Our hours of rehearsal were done for the day, but we still wanted to sing, so we headed out to the streets for an impromptu recital. The Madrigal Singers had traveled across the US to rehearse and perform for five days, and today was our last day in San Francisco. We had barely started the first few bars of “Danny Boy” when an old man stepped forward from the crowd, laughing and smiling, and began to “conduct” us. It wasn’t the laughs of our small audience that struck me, though; it was the look of pure happiness on his face.
From the first time I heard the Madrigals sing as a freshman at Tabor Academy, I knew I wanted to be a part of the choir. Of the six choral groups at Tabor, the Madrigals are by far the most selective. Singing had always been my passion, but I had never had any formal training. But now here I was, only two years later, making beautiful music with some of my favorite people in the world. What more could I possibly ask for?
I reflected on the last five days of rehearsals. We spent hours in the conference room of our hotel, up to seven hours in a single day, perfecting every last note of every last bar, nailing down rhythms, and learning to match vowels perfectly. I knew I was disciplined and focused, but I had no idea that I could be so happy doing anything for seven hours. But there was something special about our rehearsal time that made it even more worthwhile, and I couldn’t seem to place the feeling.
On that street corner on the other side of the country, it finally made sense. Being part of this group was more than an accomplishment; it was a privilege. We were capable of bringing unadulterated joy to people with our music. Here, in this moment, we all became part of something that was much bigger than ourselves.
We finished the song, completing the last few bars as we had so many times before. The man slowly made his way into the applauding crowd; we looked at each other and smiled. There was nowhere else in the world I would rather be.
Walking back to our hotel later, a realization hit me. Singing with this group hadn’t just made me a stronger singer – it had made me a better person. I understood passion, dedication, and discipline on an entirely different level, and I had learned to translate it into schoolwork and life. I love what I do, I thought to myself. And in the end, isn’t that what life is about?