A voice from the chorus

This is longer than our usual post, but, then again, this is no ordinary post. It's an essay Variety chorus member Allison wrote to include with her college application. Think she's going to make a fine addition to some school's class of 2021.

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Sitting in the back row on the first day of choir, trying to learn the new songs, I was nervous because I didn’t know anybody or any of the pieces. All wrapped up in the music, I glanced up and noticed how happy everyone was. Half the kids were on their feet, jumping and clapping to the beat. Others were sharing music and concentrating on the notes, but all the kids were smiling and laughing. They didn’t care whether they messed up or not. At that moment, I felt myself loosen up a bit. Sure a good choir needs to sound on-key, but isn’t the whole point to have fun together? After the first day with St. Louis Variety Children’s Choir, a choir for kids with and without disabilities, I knew this would be the place where I could unwind once a week.

One inspiring boy I met was Andrew, who is 18 years old and is blind. I introduced myself to him. He always talked to everyone and I wanted to get to know him better. We sat together from that day forward. I always helped him to his seat, and listened to his stories about school, track, and his many girlfriends. He has already accomplished so much in his life including running track, performing in musicals, and staying positive about everything. Since meeting Andrew, I’ve realized how thankful I should be for all the amazing opportunities I’ve had. I love to talk to him for the hour and a half each week.

A few months later, I came to choir and the director announced that one of the girls, Megan, had written a song for Variety to perform as a commercial for her business class at school. I didn’t really know what to expect when the director passed out the beautiful, clean sheet of music; the title in big letters reading: “I Can.” I thought the title fit, since Variety Club’s mission is to help disabled kids.

The piano began.

A beautiful ballad soared through the room. The harmonies blended together. As I read the words “I can do anything possible with love. My gift is a blessing from above,” I realized that Megan thought of her disability as a “blessing” rather than a burden. At that moment, I looked at Andrew, sitting next to me, and from his loud singing and the joy in his face, I realized that he and the other kids thought of their disabilities as a blessing as well. I knew from that point on that nothing else I participated in could compete with the sense of community, love, and self-discovery that Variety choir gives me.

Although the reason I joined Variety choir was to help the disabled children, I’ve found that they have helped me much more. They let me remember what’s important in life: love, friendship, and a positive approach to everything. I’ve found that after joining Variety choir, I appreciate my opportunities much more. I know that the friendships I formed at Variety will be long-lasting, just as the values gained from being part of such an amazing group will.

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Allison