I grew up in a small town in Clover, South Carolina. I went to Clover High School for all four years where I made more memories with hundreds of students and even some teachers.
For my first day of freshman year, I was so scared I would get lost. Our town is called a "small town," yet my graduating class had almost six hundred students.
I did my best to get along with students and even the faculty. I still speak to some of my teachers today even though I graduated two and a half years ago.
Most of my high school family poured out through the Clover Choraliers. A 12-time state champion choir that I was honored to be a part of for three years. The Choraliers are made up of roughly 110 men and women ranging from freshman to senior. Singing in parts, learning how to read music, how to properly sing music, and how to work alongside one another.
Every year you have to audition to be in the Choraliers, whether or not you were in the group the year before. I auditioned for the first time in my 8th grade year. It was nerve-wracking and I remember crying and my friend Will telling me I probably did great.
The thing about the Choraliers is they exceed excellence. After auditioning again my freshman year and making it as a sophomore, I was welcomed into the family, the hard work, and the dedication that was required and needed in order to prove my own excellence.
My teachers were Mr. Forrest, a dedicated, hard-working, hilarious, perfectionist of a man who worked harder than the 112 men and women who made up the choir, and Dr. Cornwell, a wonderful, overworked, devoted, and very diligent woman who showed more sparkle every day in our building than any student could strive for.
Through my time in the high school choir, I learned more about respect, responsibility, and honesty than I had ever known before.
Every Monday night from 7 p.m. to "9 p.m." our choir was held for rehearsal. I put 9 p.m. in quotations because rehearsal wasn't really over until Mr. Forrest said we could leave, which was usually 9:15 p.m. but sometimes later. We put on a Christmas Show and a Spring show made up of classical music, but also more entertaining and lighter music.
The Choraliers wasn't always hard work, on Tuesdays, we would have a dance party for a few minutes before diving into our work, we had our Riverfest where we would have waterslides and throw flour and chocolate sauce at each other.
I don't think the Choraliers areas recognized as they should be. By their school, their town, or by anyone. The Choraliers work endlessly and tirelessly to pave a road for the generations to come.
My biggest achievement is being in the Choralier family and once I graduated, it wasn't really like I was graduating from high school, it was like graduating from my choral family. On graduation day, I sang one last time with the other seniors for the national anthem and then my life as a Choralier was over.
Of course, I'm acknowledged as a Choralier alum, but being on stage and singing Latin or Russian or a beautiful Gospel has gone away and that's something I can't get back. Wearing a tuxedo at least twice a year was one of my favorite things too.
So young Choraliers, embrace your time in the chorus building and with your friends.
Don't forget, "Excellence Is Earned."
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