That’s right! This is, for those of you who don’t know, my second semester as a member of my university’s gospel choir. Gospel choir has really been an experience; the music is so different to anything I’ve ever been involved with and the environment is fantastic. Plus my director is one of the friendliest people I’ve met on campus.
So why am I seriously considering quitting?
I love the music, but the problem is, I’m lonely. And for some reason, this has always happened to me in any musical ensemble I’ve been in.
I was in band from 5th grade to senior year; at first, all my friends and I joined together. Then, as the years went on, they all dropped out and I remained, and somehow, I was left friendless and alone. I only continued with marching band junior and senior year, where I had really only one real friend that I clung to, and she likewise held on to me. But I stopped being a member of the concert ensemble; there, no one even looked at me, and for the record, I hated the dry pieces my director always chose. Quitting felt like liberation.
I’d been in choir from 5th to 8th grade, and it was the best; once again, all of my friends and I were in it together, and I relished in singing my heart out. I auditioned for my high school’s top choirs, but to my dismay, I failed my audition and was placed in the lowest rung; angered, I quit instead. I missed it, though, and it was for this reason that I joined gospel choir in college, hoping it would be as fun as it sounded.
The first semester was amazing; I loved the music, I loved singing, and I loved the people there. I had joined with a few friends and together we all lived the experience together. Second semester suddenly wasn’t the same, however. When I returned, all but one of my friends, who sings in a different section than me, had decided not to return. I didn’t mind, figuring I could just mingle with my fellow altos. But for some reason, they had all formed this big clique, and I was left excluded, standing alone in the back row during every rehearsal because no one bothered to come near me. My director would ask us to clap and dance to the music, but how could I when I was feeling so cast out?
I began to sneak out of rehearsals early, and eventually, I stopped going. My director noticed. He asked that I come back, partially because my presence was missed (by whom?), and partially because he didn’t want to be forced into assigning me an “Unsatisfactory” grade for not showing up. I came back, and even though the music was beautiful and moving, I felt nothing. I was somber and unsmiling, and all I found myself doing was singing flatly while my eyes were glued to the clock, hoping rehearsal would end soon.
Today is concert day, and I’m sitting in the auditorium waiting for the clock to strike 3 so the show can begin. When my director saw me, he immediately came to say hello and asked if I was excited. I lied and said I was.
I feel guilty, for some reason. My director, it seems, really wants me to stay. He keeps singling me out, asking me to come to office hours so he can hear me sing one-on-one. “You’ve got a lot of potential!” he says. “I just need to hear it!” He keeps asking me to join the smaller, harder gospel ensemble, which comes as a shock to the girl who could never pass an audition, much less was ever invited to join a higher ensemble. And overall, he just seems to care about me as a person.
Will I feel better by quitting? Will I feel better by getting more involved? I don’t know what to do anymore.
The music is great.
I really like singing.
Being here keeps my singing voice active.
My parents love coming to see me perform.
My director sees potential in me and keeps trying to push me to do more with this so-called talent I have.
It’s something. I don’t want to spend my college years doing nothing.
I’m lonely. And even in face of all the good things, that’s a grueling obstacle to overcome.
Should I quit at the end of this year, or stick it out one semester?