Crescendoing choir experiences

Participating in the All-Region choir brings newfound confidence


Victoria Van


Story by Amanda Garmon, staff writer

Anticipation filled the chests of all of the students waiting. I felt mostly confident. My mother was sitting beside me the entire time listening to me blabber words (oftentimes my coping mechanism for nerves) and she monitored me to make sure I knew I would do great.

We had been waiting for hours in the North Lamar High School auditorium until my name was finally called to follow a North Lamar student to the next waiting area, then to the classroom to audition. A large black piece of paper was the separation barrier between the judges and I in the room, and soon after I shut the door behind me, the accompaniment of the first song began, cuing me to begin singing.

For weeks, I had been telling my mom I didn’t think I was ready to do the audition. I didn’t think they would accept me because I didn’t have the songs perfectly down and because I’m not the best sight-reader. For a while, I was preparing to not go – to tell my choir teacher that I just don’t think it would be the best idea if I were to participate.

As days passed and it got closer to the threatening day in October, I worked and worked and worked on the music. I spent a few afternoons getting help from my choir teacher, Jenifer Colton-Fowler, and she pushed me to do the best I could at the songs. I was gaining confidence as I went over the songs more and more. With a little hesitation, I tried out for the All-Region choir Oct. 7.

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I go into the audition with more self-poise than none. I have doubts and I’m anxious to get it over with, but I go in without anything to lose. I didn’t already have a chair in the choir, so what was I so nervous about? I gulped down those small fears and sang my 3 song cuts, went through the brief sight-reading piece (which was rocky) and left out of the door when I was finished. I took a breath of relief when I realized the audition was over. My mom was in the school’s cafeteria waiting to hear how I thought I performed.

Soon, we decided to leave. I was informed that I made first alternate in the All-Region choir, which was a big shock to me since I felt so uncertain about the sight reading. I was in shock the entire way home.

Weeks later, my choir teacher told me that she found out I was bumped up, meaning I would be an actual official member of the choir and I would be handed the chance to audition for Area Nov. 18. This also meant I needed to start working on more music.

Lots of people congratulated me, gave me smiles and showed me love. I accepted it all with gratitude. Excitement flowed in the hearts of my family and friends as I walked into a new experience that spontaneously showed up on my front doorstep when I found out the news from my choir teacher: I would get the incredible opportunity to rehearse and perform with top high school singers of my region.

Time passed until Nov. 11, the day it was time to head to Mount Pleasant, Texas. My choir teacher and I left at 7 a.m. in order to make it to the high school at 8. Once there, we went to the auditorium and signed in. LSC (Large School Choir), my choir, was assembled into particular spots on the bleachers on stage. Our region director for our choir, a skilled and experienced professor, soon began warming us up — both with our voices and with our bodies (we did some funny faces and moved our bodies around).

After an hour or two, we took a break, rehearsed some more, ate lunch and rehearsed even more. At 4, we were cued to get ready for the concert and dress in all black. The concert was to start at 5, and we were to perform last (the middle school choirs and the Small School Choir performed as well). My mother and one of my best friends showed up for it as my support.

My choir performed, the concert ended, I ate and travelled home after a very draining day.

Coming out of it, I feel more confident and more ready to face other challenges that help bring me out of my shell.

— Amanda Garmon

Immediately when I’d left the scene of the concert, my mind veered from what I needed to focus on: Pre-Area music. I was ready to give the whole music situation a break. When I’d realized that I needed to step up my game, I did. I scheduled a few practices with Ms. Colton-Fowler and practiced a little on my own.

Nov. 28, the day of Pre-Area tryouts in Gilmer soon came, and yet I still didn’t feel as prepared as I needed to. Beforehand, I didn’t have the greatest attitude about going, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of mine for personal growth. I went in, knowing less than satisfactory, but I auditioned anyway with what I knew. I met some of the coolest fellow choir students, too (which is big for me because I’m usually incredibly shy in front of strangers).

We soon left and made it back home. Two days afterward, when I had my choir class, I was told that I did not advance. I was a little disappointed, but mostly okay with it. Region and Area offered me experiences I never thought I could be given.

Coming out of it, I feel more confident and more ready to face other challenges that help bring me out of my shell.