On April 27, 2017, I hopped on a bus that morning and drove to Central Lafourche High School in Raceland, Louisiana for a Chorale competition. I had been studying for numerous tests and quizzes the day before and was exhausted by the time I sat down for an hour bus ride to a foreign place. Little did I know that I would come home to a lasting moment in my life where I had felt proud of my accomplishments in Chorale. April 27, 2017, would mark the day that Chorale had won SweepStakes for five years in a row.
Sitting on the bus ride made me anxious, I wondered whether I would be able to stand on stage and sing choral pieces that Chorale had been practicing for months. I looked to my side and saw Grace, my friend whom I had become acquainted with through Chorale. We looked at each other, and we could instantly tell that we were both equally as nervous as the expression on our faces. When I stepped foot onto the campus of Central Lafourche High School, Chorale and I walked through the halls of the school and watched a performance by one of the other schools that were there for State Competition. As I watched their performance, I started to panic that I would fall in the middle of the stage on my face during my performance; however, I'm glad I didn't. Based upon the judges, Chorale would be rated by a score from one to five, one being the highest score. Butterflies filled my stomach, and I couldn’t handle the anxiety that I would have to perform in front of judges I did not know.
Suddenly, Mrs. Yadamec, my choral instructor, had told Chorale that we would be warming up, and our performance was in fifteen minutes. From this moment was when I knew I could not turn back. The fifteen minutes felt as if time was slowing down around me, and the closer the time tracked toward fifteen minutes, the antsier I felt. As I walked toward the stage, I had said a quick prayer to myself that I had gone as far as to practice weekly for this moment and that I was more than well prepared to be as scared as I was then. I could clearly remember standing on stage with the host saying, “Good Morning; this is Chorale led by Caitlyn Yadamec. Today, they will be singing ‘He’s Gone Away’, ‘Te Quiero’, and ‘Praise His Holy Name.’” The first note played, and I instantly remembered why I stood on stage. This moment wasn’t forced; this moment felt as if I was truly myself. I was standing next to people I had felt most comfortable with. The bond I had with the members of Chorale was different than the bonds with my family. Chorale was a second family to me, and when our performance ended, I remember feeling so proud of how far Chorale as a group had come.
Immediately after our performance, we were led into a room where I would be judged on my sight reading skills. I would be given a sheet of paper with music written that I had not seen before. I would have to read the music aloud, without the help of my instructor on the spot. With sight reading, everyone has to be vocally in time, without missing a note. So when the time came for everyone to sing harmoniously to the music we had never seen before, we hit every note. I was so proud. I could only hope to hear what the judges could say about Chorale. We came out of the sight reading room and waited patiently for the results to come. Seeing Mrs. Yadamec with the definite results in her hand, I held a firm grip with the girls around me to hear our ratings. We had gotten straight ones! This title is the highest in the divisions, and within less than an hour Chorale was awarded a prestigious award 5 years in a row.
The meaning of April 27, 2017, was not just about awards and winning a title, but about working together for months to achieve something that Chorale had deserved. This moment taught me a lesson that hard work pays off. I had spent hours every week sacrificing my time into make each performance better than the next. Putting forth effort equates to a result that is worth every moment. No matter how exhausted I was coming into Chorale practice each week, nothing beats the moment when I heard that Chorale had won sweepstakes.