Sarah – South Africa – Cape Town

Part of a personal project while on tour in South Africa. What piece of music have you learned to love after spending more time with it?

Young Women’s Chorus member and graduating senior, Sarah. Photo taken in Cape Town, South Africa before the final tour concert.

Something choir has given me that I’m incredibly thankful for is a deeper appreciation of music; not just choral music, but all music. I’ve learned that, in order to really get to know a piece of music that’s not a pop song, a piece of music that is maybe harder to love, you have to spend time with it. The pieces we’ve sung that I love the most are also some of the most difficult, but I love them because I’ve spent countless hours of my life devoted to understanding them, memorizing them, and learning them from the inside out.

An example of this that I have fond memories of is Angelus ad Pastores by Sulpitia Cesis. At first, I thought it was a typical religious piece of choral music, and a bit boring. After spending a whole year with it, and performing it at Carnegie Hall, I really began to appreciate its subtle complexities and beauty. If I hadn’t spent all that time learning and performing it, I never would have realized what a wonderful piece it is. Now I know that to truly appreciate a work of art, you have to put in the effort and the hours to fully understand it.

Choir has also taught me the power of diligence. With enough practice, anything can be achieved, whether it’s learning a language or memorizing a whole opera. But aside from musical skills, choir has also given me something that I’m incredibly grateful for: a community. A group of like-minded people I know I can rely on, who will help me learn a piece or translate a German menu in Austria. I’ve made what I’m sure are life-long friends, who I never would have met without this organization.

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