Once in a Lifetime - My Family Travels

Life is littered with opportunities. They surround us—calling out to the reaching minds of the world, crying, “Pick me!” or presenting themselves with a shining ribbon tied on top. Many people don’t recognize the golden moments when they come along. They are distracted by the chaos of life, the moments of disorder that are so common in everyday situations. But other people—those like my show choir’s director, Elise Peterson—don’t hesitate to snap up the chances that life has to offer.

This past summer was one of excitement for many reasons. First of all, it was the summer before my senior year of high school, and therefore my last teenage summer. After this, it would be the college dorm, the crowded campus, and the unfamiliar faces of the future. I vowed to myself that this would be the best last summer of high school that I could possibly make it. I believe I succeeded, and for one reason. I’m a member of the Hays High School Chamber Singers—a dancing, singing show choir that consists of 28 teenagers, our director, Elise Peterson, and our accompanist, Robba Moran.

Chamber Singers is more than a show choir to me. We are a close family in many ways; we share success together, mourn failure together. Each new accomplishment is valuable to every member. We represent our high school in a fabulous way, and our public attitude and mannerisms are recognized around the state of Kansas. That year, my junior year, was my first year as an official Chamber Singer, though I had felt I was one in my heart since watching them perform at O’Loughlin Elementary School in the fourth grade. My older sister had also been a Chamber Singer her junior and senior year of high school and since she was graduated now and in college, I lusted after the opportunity to fill her shoes.

Every other year, the Chamber Singers travel across the United States to tour, learn, and perform in unfamiliar territory. That previous fall, we had chosen to travel to Los Angeles, and the moment had finally arrived. All of us had felt the anticipation, the anxiety and excitement. On the plane, we played such tunes as “California” by Phantom Planet, “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and Papas, and “California Girls” by The Beach Boys.

The only way I can describe those seven days are with the words “beautiful”, “memorable”, and “unforgettable”. I will never forget that week. We experienced awesome places such as The Grammy Museum—seeing all those artists and the history they made was incredibly inspiring— and private “cruise” that started out crummy but turned into a night of music and dancing recollections that will last a lifetime. The beach and boardwalk were explored, the icy waters played in. The utterly unfashionable feel of Los Angeles’ “Fashion District” alleyway was chastised but still admired. We saw the Hollywood Sign. The Walk of Stars was host to 28 teenagers for a day.

However, the cherry on top of the cake has to go to Disney Land. The Chamber Singers performed there along with a number of other groups, but it felt like we were the stars.  Simply the smiling faces of passerby as they heard us sing and then stopped to watch were enough to keep our spirits joyous and alive for the rest of the year. The bond between us kids as a group was enough in itself, but to experience all those wonderful things together, to discover more adventures, to become closer and more loving… it was an experience I will never forget.

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