Aspiring Women

Upping the Game & Going from Good to Great

A Chorus of Voices Past and Present

on August 12, 2012

The older I get and the farther I move down the continuum of life, it is hard to remember that I once was an actor and singer. (In public school, that is, not in Hollywood!)

I was the kid who was cherry picked by the elementary music teacher for speaking parts in the annual Christmas concerts. She apparently saw something in me. What started as reluctance in me and a push from the teacher became an obsession the first time I heard applause. I was bit by the bug. From there, as opportunities came up, I joined the choirs and auditioned for the parts.

Once a year, the local high school show choir would perform at the elementary schools in town. I loved those school assemblies. Sitting criss-cross on the gym floor, I was enthralled by these teenagers swaying and dancing, harmonizing and belting out popular tunes and jazzy ditties.  For a nine year old, this was like watching a live performance of 1970’s variety show tv, ala Donnie & Marie.  And with that, I made a decision that I would one day be in the “Daybreak Show Choir”.

High school was a fabulous experience. The halls of the place seemed to exude excellence. Naturally, I found my home in the music and theatre departments. The choir directors, Doc Schnell and Dr. Lamble, had great expectations and high standards, and balanced it with hope and love for their students. And each day, stepping foot in the choir room felt like a cross between a comfortable stop at home and an exciting party. And yes, I did make the Daybreak Show Choir which was the culmination of my childhood dream and the pinnacle of my high school years.

I started college as a theatre major and desired to become a stage actress in Chicago. I had also heard about the use of  comedy skits for business trade shows and training programs, and considered that as well. My mother was quite unsupportive of  a career in the arts. So I reluctantly changed majors several times and wound up with a degree in business. I left my creative pursuits, eventually marrying a man who works in computer science and prefers sports as a hobby. Life with three kids carried us away, and before I knew it, I was in my 40’s.

And then I received an email from my high school alma mater. It was the school’s 50th anniversary and they were inviting past choir students to participate in a Reunion Choir for a special performance. Little by little, we graduates from the 80’s were finding one another on Facebook and talking about the festivities. Sadly, in the midst of this, one of our classmates passed away, which cemented the decision to gather again.

I hadn’t seen anyone since high school. I had totally walked away from singing and acting after leaving college. I couldn’t even read music anymore! I sang in the shower, in the car, and on church on Sundays. I knew I still had a voice, but the pipes were rusty! I was a little nervous, but once I heard we were going to sing two songs I remembered well, I knew it was going to be a great experience.

Sure enough, it was like coming home again. Walking the halls, being in the choir room and on stage brought a rush of memories and gratitude. And how fun to see everyone again, and see how we have turned out! Doc Schnell, many years into retirement, returned to Guest Conduct. The evening was in honor of the school’s golden anniversary and in memory of Dr. Lamble who passed away several years ago.

Since then, we Masters Singers/Daybreak Show Choir alumni have stayed in touch and have started what hopes to be an annual summer party. We have grown up, moved away, and chosen different lives. But we have the past in common; we all loved music and performing. And I think we still do.

This entire experience of remembering and reliving has me rejoicing! I am still the girl once was, I’ve just acquired more life experience. After that performance, my pipes aren’t as rusty. So I am making room in my life to join the church choir. Practice begins in two weeks. Who says you can’t go home again? You can. And you can bring a bit of home with you into the life you have now.

http://vimeo.com/42774109

Julie Stroud is a coach, trainer, and speaker and the founder of Aspire Coaching & Education.  She specializes in developing leaders in direct sales and building teams of magnificence.  She is a certified trainer for The Color Code personality profile.  Her deepest desire and greatest joy is to inspire women to reach for their highest and best.  For more information about coaching and upcoming programs, contact her at http://www.aspirecoaches.com; julie@aspirecoaches.com, or (847) 557-9600.


3 responses to “A Chorus of Voices Past and Present

  1. Susan says:

    Hi Julie. I enjoyed your post. Did you notice that I nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog ” award? Please see my blog at this post: http://womenmakingstrides.com/?p=101&preview=true

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