The Song of Life

Ever since I was a little girl, the one thing that I have always loved to do is sing.  And typing that out sounds as cliché as I think I could possibly get, but it is the honest-to-God truth.

The first memory that I have of myself singing was probably when I was about three years old.  At that age, my absolute favorite Disney movie ever was “The Lion King.”   I had my own stuffed Simba (a near life-sized version to myself at the time) and me and my stuffed friend watched that hour-and-a-half long movie constantly — probably  multiple days of the week.

One of the first and fondest memories that I have of myself singing took place on my backyard deck.  I know my hair was in little, brown pigtails as I belted my heart out to a cassette-tape version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” sung by none other than Simba himself.  That song was my jam.

Ever since then, singing has just become second nature to me. It has followed me throughout my life. Singing, along with music in general, has become my escape from a lot of things in my life: stresses from school, family, friends or whatever else may or may not be worrying me that specific day or week.

My friends will agree with me — and tell you time and time again — that I am constantly singing. I sing in my car. I sing in my friends’ cars. And I will probably sing in your car, too, whoever you are that’s reading this. I fight the urge to sing along to my iPod when I have my earbuds in at the gym. As long as music is playing and I know the song, wherever I am, I will nine out of 10 times be singing along to it.

My love for music has driven me in very different (maybe even polar opposite) directions of the music realm.  I have a very wide range when it comes to my music taste. It basically varies from indie/alternative music, to punk rock music, to mainstream pop, to choral music.

I sang in chorus in elementary school; I sang in chorus and show choir in both middle school and high school; and now, for the past three semesters, I have continued my choir-singing endeavors in New Paltz’s very own Concert Choir.

For the past three semesters, this choir has been my release from the outside world and a place where I can just do something I really love and not have to think about much else. And tonight, the night of Dec. 9, we performed in our end-of-the-semester concert, singing simple works of Shakespeare that had been transposed into choral alterations.

Over the course of the past two months, my choir and I had worked hard on each of our seven pieces.  We not only sang individual poems by Shakespeare, but songs that have been in Shakespearian plays like “Macbeth.”

Our hit song of the night was “Double Double, Toil and Trouble.” This song has complicated melodies and time signatures that took our choir quite a while to get under our belts, but, by some miracle, we made it work — and it was our biggest hit of the night.

At the end of the song, we sing our final line of, “Open locks, whoever knocks,” and stomp our feet once to create some kind of treacherous, fear-inducing sound to go along with the piece as a whole. During our dress rehearsal, just as we all stomped our feet to end the piece, the power went out.

We all looked around at each other in complete and total confusion, thinking that the cause of the sudden power outage was the loud stomp we made. Our choral director (Dr. Edward Lundergan, for those of you who may know him), laughed and told us that the play “Macbeth” has been known to be cursed whenever it’s performed — so basically, weird things always happen. When referencing the play itself, you aren’t even supposed to call it “Macbeth,” but instead, “The Scottish Play.”

So we went with it. And last night at our concert, as we stomped our feet to finish our song, the tech-guys turned the lights out and the crowd laughed and applauded us.

The lights turned back on and I looked to my friend standing next to me and we just laughed together.  It was a moment that brought me such joy, and that is always how I feel when I get to sing on stage with my choir.

I love hearing our melodies and harmonies working together to create something beautiful. Even in the saddest and creepiest of songs, beauty is made and beauty is heard.  The melodies are so strong that often times, I can hear the vibrations we create in the sound waves, and it is unlike anything I’ve heard before. It’s as if the whole universe comes together in a single chord.

When my parents come to see my chorus concerts, they always remind me of how happy I look when I’m singing on stage.  That happiness is what reels me back in to take another chorus class every time.

I’ve decided to take another choir class next semester. At the end of this semester, I’ll have fulfilled my art GE for having done concert choir three semesters in a row. While picking classes for the upcoming spring semester, I told my friends that I’ll be taking a whopping 18 credits next semester.

A few of them asked me why I’m taking chorus again next semester if my art GE will be completed. As a double major in journalism and digital media programming and management with a minor in French, I can definitely understand why it seems a bit strange that I’m taking a class that isn’t necessary towards my degree. But my answer is simple: I love to sing.  There is truly nothing more to it than that.

And through music, I have realized how important it is to have passion. Love what you are doing. Do whatever it is with your whole heart — because at the end of the day, that is where your happiness lies.

As British travel writer and journalist Rebecca West once said, “It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.”

So abandon yourselves in your passions and feel bliss.