5 Things I Learned At The All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir

5 Things I Learned At The All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir

Thank you for changing me for good!
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For countless people, an enjoyable summer often includes a visit to a fair, whether it be the county fair or even the state fair. One of the unique aspects of the Ohio State Fair, specifically, is that they have their own youth choir known as the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. This is an organization designed to bring high school students from all over the state of Ohio to live at the Ohio State Fair for eighteen days to sing. Throughout this experience, I have learned a plethora of important skills that will stick with me throughout the entirety of my life. Here is just a minuscule sample of what I’ve learned.

1. Music.

As the name of the organization points out, you are a member of a choir and, therefore, are at the fair to sing and learn music. I speak not only for myself, but for a majority of others when I say that the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir strongly improved my ability to read and memorize music. This skill is one only obtained through practice; something you receive an abundance of when you sit through about five days of music rehearsals before the fair even opens. In fact, the choir continues to learn new music while also balancing up to seven performances a day.

2. Showering with others isn’t as awkward as it sounds.

When you’re shoved into a bathroom with 100+ people and there are 5 showers, it can be a little tricky to get everyone clean in a limited amount of time. The solution? Shower together! It might sound a little intimidating, but, nevertheless, once you become super sweaty from marching around all day, you just need to get clean and you don’t care who is in there. Consequently, showering with others can increase personal self-confidence! Showering with others is also another way to form close bonds. Who could be closer than people who shower together, am I right?

3. Living with 100+ people.

Not only are you forced to share a bathroom with 100+ people, but you also share a room with them for all eighteen days. While the dorms typically do not hold everyone in one room, you can still wind up sharing a room with up to 60 people. This experience can be extremely intimidating to the new members considering this leaves people in the optimal situation to dig through their personal belongings and even steal. (This is why it is important to have a trunk that locks!) Although the dorms that the choir members live in are less than comfortable, sharing such an intimate space allows for possibility of countless friendships

4. The power of 18 days.

Although eighteen days can seem like a long time to live at a fair, the time truly flies by. The time seems to drag on at first and many people develop homesickness, however, once the fair actually opens, there is almost a complete shift in the choir's mood. Each day there are new audiences and new memories made, then, all of a sudden it’s time to head home.

5. Friends are friends forever.

At the youth choir, it is not uncommon to become friends with people that you would never have imagined becoming friends with. It’s challenging to understand looking at it from an outside perspective, but nearly impossible to explain from an inside perspective. These friends basically become your second family. In the simplest words possible, once a part of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, always a part of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir.

The youth choir has not only had a large impact on me, but everyone involved. Thank you for changing me for good!

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!

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We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness

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What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst

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It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen

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Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad

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Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin

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Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate

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Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny

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More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body

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Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 

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Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.

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I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

We may not love the 2:30 kickoffs but Roll Tide!

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Choir Has Taught Me About So Much More Than Just Singing, It's Taught Me About Life

Everything I need to know in life, I learned in the choir room.

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Music is good for the body and soul. There are studies that have revealed the effect of singing on critical thinking ability and developing minds, but we hardly need the figures to make us aware of music's significance in our lives.

I have spent nearly a decade of my life singing in the choir on a regular basis. I have identified as a soprano, alto, and even tenor. I have cried over not receiving solos, lost my voice, come home exhausted from six-hour rehearsals, and loved every minute. Beyond the cognitive skills, singing technique, and music theory I learned, I have picked up invaluable insight from my directors and colleagues. Here are seven of the lessons I have collected along the way.

It’s not about you. 

One of the first things ensemble singing teaches is the importance of blend. Despite how important you might think you are, a single voice should take no precedence over the others. Sometimes the greatest contribution to the community necessitates keeping our own voices in check.

Strive for excellence, always. 

There's always notes that could be tuned, always dynamics that could be stronger, always something that could be better. We are perpetually a work in progress, but we are better than we were yesterday. Despite the unattainability of true perfection, the countless hours spent at work always pay off when the music hits the stage.

Come prepared. 

When you don't arrive to rehearsal with the music learned, your unpreparedness affects the whole choir. Showing up with proper materials, ready to work is a skill that follows you far beyond the choir room, and as of yet, I have never been in a circumstance where I haven't been happy to have my pencil and water bottle.

You don’t have to give up your individuality to be part of a whole. 

One concept that has stuck with me from the moment my university choir director uttered the words is "uniformity, not conformity." Every singer has a unique voice, and blending together doesn't mean we give up what makes us special. Our collective sound is all the more vibrant for it.

We achieve the most when we come together. 

A single soprano may sound beautiful, but a lone voice cannot create the rich harmony and texture of the ensemble. It's the many layers of combined parts that make choral music. You are limited in what you can do on your own, but when we combine our talents we can build so much more.

Listen more. 

"Sing less, listen more," is a phrase nearly every choir singer is familiar with. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by listening to the voices of those around us. Our fellow community members always have wisdom and skills that we lack, and we can only progress as people when we take them into account.

Make new mistakes every time. 

"The fool makes the same mistake twice; the wise man makes a new one." This is another truism from my university choir director. When we slip up, it gives us the opportunity to address our shortcomings and change them. Making mistakes is an essential part of growing and learning, but it doesn't define us — it lays the foundation for a better future.

Choir musicians are a special type of people, and our directors seem to see the world through a different lens. Whether you have spent a day in the choir or a lifetime, it's impossible to deny the value of the wisdom you receive from a community of musicians. In the words of composer John Rutter, "Choral music is not one of life's frills. It's something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community, and our souls." There is not a chorister nor listener in the world who has not been moved by the music of a chorus of voices, and I will always carry with me the wisdom I gathered while singing.

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