High School is 90% social integration and 10% education. If you’re real lucky you can manage to get an education without completely losing face with your hot-blooded peers- but no one can know of course. What was even more difficult keeping a secret than learning something in high school was to have a long-standing love affair with choir or playing the clarinet in the marching band (sorry Brian).
Now with the advent of Glee and American Idol, singing is suddenly cool again (again meaning like when it was cool to be a Hellenic virgin and sing in flowing gowns around a bronze basin filled with goats blood or being a a player in one of Shakespeare’s plays while performing for the Queen of England—cool).
No, in the early 90’s, high school choir was not cool. I can remember hiding sheet music in my backpack at soccer practice, fearing that one of my teamates might find it and expose me saying something like, “Hey look, Wimmer’s in ballet class and singing little church songs”. To which I would try and defend with something like, “No, actually that is a contemporary piece and 5/8 time is really hard to keep”. And they would grin through Copenhagen stained teeth.
I watched a high school choir tonight at the Showcase of the Arts here in Rock Hill and I was captivated by a piece they did from Bach. I’m reminded how important learning music is. How it evokes emotion and imagination. Watching the students and the director push through notes and elevate the sound was warm and familiar. It reminded me of Mrs. Wagster and Mr. Scholtz; trips to All-State and All-County competitions, concerts and solos. It made me proud to be a choral nerd and to say I learned something in high school. Hope those students feel the same way in 20 years.