For what we were, what you are, and what they will be
I remember looking at the A4-sized flier tacked up on the announcement board in the lobby of Baird Music Hall after Choir rehearsal. I remember being passed a little quarter-sheet-sized flier during rehearsal, and many more little sheets being handed around to all the sopranos and altos in the class. A few phrases caught my eye briefly, most of which I glossed over, but one word jumped out at me: auditions.
And I remember Gretchen, my fellow soprano in the Choir, looking at me and saying, “You should definitely try out!”
Her words, and 30 seconds of Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This, brought to reality a dream that I never even knew I had. And two weeks after those 30 seconds, I had twelve new friends, all of whom made up the Royal Pitches, the only all-girl acappella group at the University at Buffalo.
Looking back now, five years later, I would find it impossible to imagine going through college without doing what I had done with them. It’s difficult to believe how much the group went through during my years in it — girls leaving, new girls joining, having to make friends all over again, bringing in a new repertoire every semester, driving all over New York State to be the opening act for other acappella groups, disciplining ourselves in preparation for the ICCA, and putting the group through an evolution of sorts to diversify its sound and broaden its genre range. And it’s difficult to believe how we were all able to get along — despite the hormones and our differences — to the point where we sometimes couldn’t imagine not being around one another for more than a week at a time.
Leaving the group, and eventually the country, would be one of the most difficult things I would ever do. I had made many great friends and met many wonderful people within and because of the group, and I stayed in it even though I had graduated and was working. I didn’t want to think about having to learn to let that part of my life go, even though I knew that the group would move on without me, because I was getting older, the other (new) girls were getting younger, and eventually the sound would change all over again.
That change never hit me harder than it did last night, when I randomly decided to search YouTube for new videos of the group. I saw the ones that had been posted when I was still in the group, and then I saw the newest ones. I saw that they had come closer to achieving what we had only just set out to do: to bring the group away from the stereotypical candy-pop girl group to a new-age, diverse acappella group. And even though I only know half of the girls now, and despite that excruciating stab of pain and the terrible sadness of knowing that something that had been such a big part of me was now only ever going to be as close as the computer screen, I still felt the most profound feeling of pride in them for coming so far, much further than we could ever have dreamed all those years ago.