Double Dozen, Senior Year. I'm the short girl in the middle.
When I was in high school, music was my salvation. Even though I was a fairly happy teenager, I still went through a healthy dose of Normal Teenage Angst mixed with the usual sadness that life can bring- illness, death, heartbreak, etc. I know a lot of people who look back on high school with a mix of bemused nostalgia and slight horror. Bad hair, bad boyfriends, bad jeans. In my case, you can also add bad acne. {shudder} Most people I know wouldn't go back to high school if their life depended on it.

Because I had music in my life, I can look back on high school with a full heart. No matter how hard things could be, there was a 40 minute period where I could sit down with my friends and sing every. single. day. It was like being on a therapists couch. I would walk in with the weight of the world on my shoulders and exhale it all out in an array of notes and song and joy. I remember every note of it, every amazing piece of music that my wonderful high school music teacher brought into my life. My favorite pieces are still with me- an incredible arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square"; an intricate, dizzy version of "Deck the Halls"; a powerful, gospel-y version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and, of course, "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.

I took part in a few choirs, and my favorite was known as The Double Dozen. At the time, it was a select show choir (dancing and singing, very Glee-ish!) and it was my life. Even rehearsals- with my Bostonian music teacher fine-tuning every note and correcting our South Jersey accents in his thick Boston one (oh, the irony!)- were a rush. I think that every human, at some point, has danced and sang. Not everyone gets the chance to perform. It was the only time that my insecure teenage self reached my full potential, I think we all felt like that. The galaxy has an awful lot of blackness, but even the tinniest stars shine, are special.

We ended every show with "The Lord Bless You And Keep You". No dancing, just locked hands and sweet voices wishing our audience and each other peace. And really, isn't that what everyone needs more then anything? No matter what religion, everyone searches for a greater being to lift them up. It's a song that is as much a part of me as my kidneys, my eyes, my heart. The deep, strong bass, the warm tenor, the comforting alto and the lilting soprano, all distinct layers and still creating a beautiful sound. I find the last notes drifting out of my mouth before I even realized I was singing. When I need to be happy, I sing this song.

I couldn't find a version of my high school group singing "The Lord Bless..." but I did find this lovely version on YouTube. I hope it gives you peace today.


Patrick Campbell said...

Oh, Brie... Thanks for the great trip down memory lane.


Curtindo muito seu blog por aqui. Grande abraço 'from Brazil'..