Still Day One

It started off as a typical day: we all woke up in a sleep deprived haze, ate our now daily bread and cheese breakfast, boarded a bus to the sound of Paige’s headcount and ventured to the token church of the day, this time one in a famous Jesuit Mission. Oddly enough, despite how moved David felt, as we sang from the choir loft, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of routine. This sort of thing is who we are and what we do here and now: we visit churches and we offer some sort of impromptu performance each day (today in a choir loft, others in places like the local Starbucks). That’s not to say that the church wasn’t beautiful and that our performance didn’t impact the people who heard it. On the contrary, both of those things are true. Wherever we had gone and performed we were met with the smiles and laughter of the Argentinian people. But my point, is that as great as this sort of thing was, this beauty, had come to feel like part of a routine: get up, travel, sing somewhere slightly obtuse, repeat at least once daily – essentially be the traveling Von Trapp family.

The beauty of yesterday, however, stems from an interruption to this routine. We knew in advance that this performance in the Cultural Center of Córdoba was our last show of the year and for many of us, it was the last time we’ll ever sing together or maybe even see each other. I had to fight back tears knowing that our “core four Chamber Singer altos” will never sing together again: Nina will be abroad next year, Hannah’s switching to soprano and I’ll have graduated before Nina comes back from her year abroad. The feeling of loss from knowing that things would never be the same hung over us. We took pictures, we smiled, we pretended it wasn’t goodbye, knowing full well that in some ways it was. But the thing of it is, this sadness inspired us.

Knowing that it was our last moment as a part of this particular group, we poured all that we had into the performance. We smiled under the stage lights and danced to “Uptown Funk” for the last time, each of us allowing our motto (“Altos: we have fun”) to echo through our minds. We let our feelings inspire our performance. We said goodbye through song.

At the end of the show, at dinner in a gorgeous restaurant, we toasted our successes. “I almost cried after Soneto!” “We actually got that note right!” “That was the best we’ve ever been.”

I wrote earlier of something different in the air here. At the time, I had no idea of what that was. As the days ticked by and we joked about it still being “Day 1,” I came to realize that the “something” I’d been feeling was a tremendous amount and love and inspiration for the group I’ve led for the past year. We’ve never had a better performance. I’ve never been so proud.

– Julia Dunn ’16

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