There’s something so incredibly special about singing in a large group. It feels like we’re all connected for the brief few minutes of a song. We are all working together; we are one.

For seven years, I had the same choir director. He pushed all of us and held us all responsible for our actions. We had to work hard, we had to practice, we had to take time outside of class to look at our music, and we had to be independent. He taught us discipline and responsibility. On many occasions, we didn’t come to class prepared and man, were those rehearsals difficult.

Choir isn’t like any of the other classes you take in school. In most classes, if you don’t come prepared it doesn’t affect your peers or their performance. But in choir it’s completely different. If people don’t come to class prepared, the director needs to spend extra time rehearsing certain parts of the music they didn’t anticipate rehearsing that day. As a result, everyone gets frustrated and the choir is a day behind in rehearsal. Being in choir taught me a lot about trust. I couldn’t force my peers to come prepared to rehearsal and I couldn’t sing their parts for them. We all had to trust each other to do our parts and do them well.

Those days when rehearsal clicked and everyone came prepared, we made magic. We sang together and created something out of nothing. We took notes written on a page and created beautiful and complex music using just our voices. We’d been together through it all. We learned how to read music together. We suffered the wrath of our director when he got frustrated together. We celebrated wins and mourned losses together. We fully supported each other through every moment in our lives. I remember getting the acceptance letter to my dream school and the first people I wanted to tell were my choir and the director.

For years, I have been trying to figure out what made choir so special. Why didn’t the people in orchestra have the same experience? I think there is something so special about singing with others in a group and following the director’s cues. The band and orchestra created beautiful music with their instruments. They were just as musical and the directors are just as incredible. But the members of the groups didn’t seem as close as the choir kids were. We literally embodied the music because we are the instruments. Being up on the risers with my peers to perform in a concert was always unreal. It felt like our heartbeats fell into the same rhythm once we started singing.

Being in a choir is an experience I wish everyone had. Singing together and sounding good wasn’t even the best part. The best part of choir is walking into a room and feeling at home because you know you are loved. At a very difficult time in my life when I felt incredibly alone, I could walk into choir rehearsal and know that I was loved, I was important and I mattered. I found a family in this weird group of 35 people. Being in choir gave me the self-confidence and boost in self-esteem that I needed to make a successful transition into college. I can get up in front of my peers and speak to them and I can lead rehearsals and music therapy sessions all because of choir. Even on days when I don’t feel like it, I know that I am loved and important because of my experiences with choir.

If you’re looking for a place to feel welcome and to create something out of nothing, I highly recommend finding a choir to join. Singing with others is one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences you’ll have in life. Plus, you’ll get the chance to make some incredible music.