Some life events change you in a dramatic, sweeping fashion in an instant. Other things change you slowly over time and you don't often realize it until it's over. Suddenly you look back and realize you are completely different than when you started, but you can't identify when it actually happened. That was my experience in the Wisconsin Singers.
The Wisconsin Singers is a collegiate performance group out of UW-Madison that I had the privilege of being a part of for three years. I auditioned because I missed performing (which I honestly thought I was done with after high school) and because I wanted to become more involved at the university. I had no idea how much it would change my college experience and my life.
The "Singers" (as it is affectionately and more easily called) is about so much more than performing. It is an organization that gives back to communities and fine arts programs; helps students to grow as performers, leaders, and people; and brings joy to everyone it touches, including the performers, parents, audiences, and entire communities.
During my three years in the group and two years serving on the student staff as a dance captain, I changed. Not in a fundamental way- I am still true to me. But now I am a better version of me. As a performer, I am more confident on stage and my repertoire of performance styles has expanded. As a leader, I am better equipped to work with many different types of people, to take challenges in stride, and to lead by example. The number of lessons I learned along the way is immeasurable. The Wisconsin Singers taught me to be humble. You do not receive applause on stage without an immense amount of work behind the scenes, from loading and unloading equipment to talking to audience members after the show to 12 hour rehearsal days. It taught me the power and importance of teamwork. Each person brings a unique set of skills to the group and the success of the group depends on these skill sets working together. And it taught me so, so much more.
Besides providing me with professional and personal growth, Singers gave me lifelong friendships. The people in the group are simply incredible. So incredible that I could never believe that I was qualified to be among them. For starters, they are insanely talented performers. Aside from that, they are intelligent, kindhearted, ambitious, and passionate. This group of people constantly inspired me (and still does) on stage and off.
It is a magical experience to be a part of something that's bigger than yourself. The Wisconsin Singers is a legacy 50 years in the making that has thrived off of the contributions of many people across the state of Wisconsin and the country. Happy 50th, Singers. Thank you for everything you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Here's to 50 more years of changing lives!