I have been singing since the moment I was born, according to my mother. Even though I do not necessarily count a baby’s coo as singing, I guess it really did start there. I come from a singing family, so it is not that hard to imagine that I learned to “sing” before learning how to talk, or anything else for that matter.
Before I even started going to pre-school, my brother, who was in high school and was my role model, let me realize my dreams of singing on stage. My most vivid early memory was going to a winter concert at Quakertown high school and watching my brother on stage as a varsity singer. I must have been two or so. I can remember getting lost in the over powering music. The bright lights and the glorious sounds bursting from the stage was all that I wanted. I couldn’t wait to be in high school, be a varsity singer. Unfortunately, my brother graduated the year I started first grade, so I did not go to as many high school concerts, or have the great musical influence of my brother in my life, but the concerts of his that I had attended made a lasting impression on my life goals. I wanted to sing.
The first formal training with singing I have had started at two years old: as soon as I was old enough for my church’s children’s choir. Some of my earliest singing memories are singing in that choir on Sunday mornings. I was always the loudest one, never afraid to sing out. We practiced our music on Wednesdays after school and performed on Sunday mornings in church. There I also learned how to read, not only the lyrics I had to sing, but also music while playing chimes. The music always came easy to me. And performing was even easier. I look back fondly on having all eyes on me singing, even though I was a shy child. Sometimes, the music even creeps back into my mind when I’m not paying attention.
The next step in my journey was the elementary school music program. I absolutely adored my elementary school music teacher. The four extra-curricular stations, art, gym, library time and music, would cycle every four days. Of course, music was my favorite; I wished we had it every day. In fourth grade, my classmates and I were given the choice to give up recess time and the last fifteen minutes of the school day for chorus. I was ecstatic and leapt at the opportunity. I always wished we had more concerts and could learn more music. I soon earned my first acclamation by being invited to sing for the elementary school honors chorus, where all the best singers learned new music and had a special concert on a Saturday at Strayer middle school. The catch was, I had to go to school extra early on some days to practice, but I did not mind. This was a dream come true.
In middle school, I signed up for chorus again. This time the chorus teachers had their own choir room, and class was every other day. I was absolutely overjoyed. Plus, when I auditioned for “select choir,” I made the group in sixth grade, an uncommon feat for a sixth grader. Even my sister could not get into the group until eighth grade. Again, the members had to wake up to be at school at six in the morning for rehearsal, but I did not care because I loved doing it. In that group, we went to Hershey Park to be adjudicated and spend the rest of the day in the park. We always got the highest scores. I also participated in an interscholastic chorus in 8th grade, which was also auditioned. That was tons of fun too. My fist solo was also in 8th grade in the song “O Sifuni Mungu,” a traditional African song.
Entering high school chorus has always been my favorite class of the day. In 9th grade I made it into junior varsity singers, an audition group composed of varsity singer’s runners up. Moving up to the Senior High School in 10th grade I finally achieved my dream of being in varsity singers like my brother. In addition, I get voice lessons through the school. In choir this year, we are currently working on Mendelsohn’s Elijah.
I love singing, and I cannot imagine my life without it.