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“The Phantom of the Opera is there inside my mind,” sang Bailey, Riley, Amber, and me at the top of our lungs.
Trying not to burst in laughter, we sung the chorus together in our opera voice on our way to Lakeshore Choral Camp, the summer of 2010. Driving to Roosevelt State Park, we punctured our driver’s ear drums. In the mean time, we ate at Olive Garden where we consumed over-cheesy, half-eaten pizza; stringy, garlic fettuccini; and grilled, buttery shrimp. Thanks to the over-eating, we had to push ourselves out of our seats and into the car to continue our journey to camp.
When we readily arrived to camp, we picked up our challenging music, located in our golden engraved folders and drove to our sleeping location. When we arrived at the tattered, musty, and cob-web infested cabins, Bailey, Riley, Amber, and I inspected the infested cabin with top to bottom dirt build-up on the slimy-green mattresses atop of the rusting bed frames. Along with setting up, we joined with the remaining cabin residents from Bayou View Middle school, shouting out old memories of the past year. Our first rehearsal had us at the edge of our chairs, when our director introduced to the choir a new, more time efficient education technique that involved no reading of the music note by note, but instead learning by ear from the piano music.
During the rehearsal we sang, danced, and laughed, having an unforgettable rehearsal. In the evenings we had special events such as: karaoke night, talent show, and a dance. When the time for the talent show arrived, I planned on performing a classical ballet piece on pointe in my recently purchased tutu; unfortunately, I got sick. Having to stay back to feel better, I felt left out, so I quickly recovered and arrived at the performance hall right on time. Even though I felt embarrassed from being sick, I over came my mortification and performed as beautiful as a swan.
Following the talent show night, at the morning rehearsal, we sung extensive warm-up exercises. Our director, Randy Pagel, started asking randomly picked singers from each section to sing the warm-up individually.
He suddenly turned to me and instructed, “You, sing the warm-up.”
As I nervously stood up, I cleared my throat and started to move my jaw, but nothing came out and I said, “I’m sorry, but nothing is coming out.”
“Just try and sing until it gets too high,” he retorted.
Butterflies trying to escape my frazzled body, I swayed back and forth, trying to get my vocal chords awake, but still came the steady beat of only the air conditioner.
I replied, “I cannot, nothing will come out at all! I lost my voice and cannot sing.”
“Okay, even though I am disappointed,” shot back my director.
Almost missing my chair, I wobbled at the knees and only could see the blurred visions of my hands in front of my face, trying to hide my embarrassment. When the concert came, I had recovered from my stirred-up, previous emotions, but still left with my damaged voice; on the other hand, not feeling alone because several voices of other members of this choir had been worn out. As a result of the tired voices, we pleaded for help, and luckily our home-town teacher, Ms. Carson came to the rescue with throat lozenges and saved the potential embarrassment of our croaking frog voices.
“Thank you to all parents, teachers, and workers for letting this camp happen, have a safe ride home, and see you next year campers!” concluded the director of Lakeshore Choral Camp.