Are you new to Youth Choir of Central Oregon? I am. I had heard about it peripherally in the past, but this year my daughter’s high school teacher specifically referred her to the program so we had to check it out. Devon went through an audition and was in the Premiere group and started before we knew it!
The first weekend they went on a retreat in Christmas Valley. The carpools were already organized so my help wasn’t needed. I just dropped her off at the grocery store parking lot Friday afternoon and picked her up Sunday afternoon. I got one phone call over the weekend from one very exuberant, happy girl. She was “jamming” on a guitar and swimming in the lake and had made a bunch of new friends.
She was no less exuberant when I picked her up. She regaled me with stories about the talent show she participated in, the food she ate, the sleeping arrangement, the stories the girls shared. It was exactly the experience I had hoped she’d have. You know, one of those moments that we as parents live for.
I have high hopes for her future with the choir because of this retreat. She, of course, is already completely in love and at home with it. Of course, I think it’s best heard from the horse’s mouth, so I asked her to share her story with you. Here it is:
When I first heard about this retreat I was pretty excited, but as the day came closer I started feeling a little iffy about it. When I found out I was going there in a car with a mom I had never met before and two other girls I didn’t know at all, I was a little frustrated since I was expecting to go with my mom. The whole car ride there I didn’t talk much and I felt awkward. When we pulled up to the lake house I started to think, “This could be fun!” My good friend Kaydn and I were in the same room together, along with a friend of mine from ballet who is also in Youth Choir. I thought it was going to be the party room!
That night we played some games to get to know each other and it was really fun! There was lots of laughter and smiles and I felt very welcomed into the choir. We had a campfire and ate smores after playing the games and all the seniors of the choir linked arms and one by one said why they wanted to be choir president and when they were all done I couldn’t vote for just one so when the time came I voted for all just like everybody else did.
When we were all cozy in our rooms for bedtime, a group of girls from my room were sitting on the bed and one of the seniors was talking to them about her best friend being mad at her and she began to cry and it made me realize that this choir is so close to each other that any one of us knows we can tell the choir about our problems and they will help us through them.
The next morning I woke up pretty tired, but ready to have fun with my new choir! We ate a delicious breakfast and then had the first choir rehearsal of the retreat. I fell in love with the songs we sang and we sounded so good! After that we had some free time and a few of us went down to the lake and Kadyn and I canoed a while and then a bunch of girls came down with bathing suits on and jumped in the lake, despite the clouds and chilly weather. I decided to jump in too and as soon as I hit the water, my body went numb because it was so cold! I sat in there for about five minutes and then had to get out since I didn’t want to get hypothermia. After that I went back to my room where a very talented girl, Taylor, was playing her guitar and singing. Her voice is amazing! A few of us gathered around her listening in awe and then she started playing some songs we knew and we had a little sing-along.
That night we had a talent show and Kadyn and I got the courage to play the guitar and sing for everyone. All the girls that are new to the choir performed and we all had a great time! Everyone is so talented!
The next day I was really sad knowing we had to leave. At our final rehearsal of the retreat, we sang two really sad songs and almost started crying after hearing about them. The car ride back was very different. The four of us girls and Morgan’s mom talked and told each other about our experience at the retreat. When we reached Bend and my mom came and got me, I told her all about the retreat. I almost started crying because it was just so amazing to bond with all of those amazing girls.
I really feel Youth Choir of Central Oregon is my new second family and I know they won’t judge me for anything I do and they will support me no matter what and I now know that I belong there.