Here’s to Great Choir Directors Who Change Children’s Lives
Concert choir changed my life.
This photo is from the back of the album we recorded that spring. I bet you didn’t know I was a recording artist!
I joke about my friend Jen being the Yoko Ono that broke up my grade school girlfriend group. But it’s not true. I walked away from my grade school girlfriends when I got into Mr. Wood’s Junior High School Concert Choir.
Mr. Wood ruled with a firm hand. Very firm. Coming from the home of no hand at all, I kind of liked it. (My mother worked as a nurse the 3-11 pm shift and my dad, an alcoholic, sat at the bar most nights) I sang my little lungs out to please him.
It’s too bad that my anxiety issue started to surface back then. I was really good and could have gone all the way!
Which, back then, was pretty much not very far.
Where you could go, however, was under the spotlight in the musicals we performed each spring. This year (the year of this album cover), in my 8th grade year, we put on Pirates of Penzance. My dear friend, Kathy, was the lead female – Mabel.
In 9th grade we put on HMS Pinafore (Mr. Wood was on a Gilbert & Sullivan kick) I got the roll of Buttercup. I was a great Buttercup in the choir room but once we started to practice on that stage, I freaked out. I freaked out so much that I told Mr. Wood I just couldn’t do it. No way, no how. I don’t recall the conversation and I don’t recall how he reacted but I do know that he gave my roll to 3 other altos. One performed as Buttercup per each of the three nights we performed.
So, per usual, it’s a bittersweet memory. Concert choir gave me so much confidence and so many lifelong friends.
It’s just that damn mental health stuff that gets in the way!
My concert choir days ended when I went to high school. The choir director there was the opposite of Mr. Wood. Mr. Knight was a very weak choir director and I was a very strong-willed young adult who went and got herself kicked out of choir.
If you were not already aware, it is never wise to tell your choir director to “get fucked.”
But I’ll always have the Hubert Olson Junior High School Concert Choir to remember.
And the Wayzata Women’s Chorus, of course (hi Carole! Aren’t you glad I never swore at you?!)
p.s. If you want to find me in this photo, I’m the girl right behind the guitar player on the left.