As Bryant McGill says, ‘Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny’. Whether you believe in ‘destiny’ or not, sometimes being rejected is the best thing to ever happen to you.
Inspired to join Gospel Choir
Looking back on the beginning of second year when I was rejected for a musical, I felt disheartened by it all and was put off at the thought of auditioning for something else only to be faced with the same feeling of ‘just not-good-enough-ness’. Yet, I decided to branch out from what I had spent most of my first year doing and try something new – which I would recommend to all second years as your extracurricular choices from first year are not set in stone. I auditioned for Durham University Gospel Choir with the song Proud Mary. I’ve always loved soul and choral music so gospel represented a unique musical opportunity. As I stepped into Mary’s Chapel, I desperately tried not to forget the words to Tina Turner’s classic and suppress the bubble of nerves from reaching my voice.
A sense of belonging
I was lucky enough to join the choir. A choir that becomes like a little family. A choir that despite rehearsing only once or twice a week is encompassed by a sense of community and caring for each other. A choir that actively participates in charity events in Durham, bringing Gospel music to people for the first time. And most importantly of all, a group of people that actively enjoy spending time with each other, even going on tour together. We have performed at a variety of events: from fairs to balls, concerts to the Live Nativity (thankfully no camels were involved in our performance). Read Lizzie’s blog to find out more about the LIVE nativity that takes place in Durham every year.
It’s about all about the music
Gospel choir is not exclusive to those who are religious; being religious is not a requirement to join the choir. The choir itself is made up of atheists, agnostics, followers of different branches of Christianity and Judaism. Everyone is welcome to audition. All are united when we sing together. We are a group made of people of all different faiths, backgrounds, ages, degrees and voices. We have a strong group of alumni who remain in our group and will always belong to Gospel Choir. People join gospel having never sung in a choir before and leave knowing an array of music, from traditional spirituals to modern covers. I love the variety of Gospel choir, the importance of musicality, expression, performance and cohesive sound all together. It’s hard to describe the feeling when this wall of sound joins together in such harmony.
Aiming for national success
Now in my final year of university, I am in the privileged position to be co-musical director and explore the choir’s potential. This year, the choir entered the national University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) competition with an original Norwegian song brought over by one of our Erasmus members and Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise. Currently, we are in the Top Ten choirs in the country and we need your help with the public vote to get to the finals which will be held in London next April. Now we are focused on improving our performance, trying new repertoire and bringing the choir together even more. Pushing the choir to sing different styles, in different languages and even move in different ways.
So what has all this taught me? By throwing the fear of rejection to the wind, you never know where it may lead you, and it just might be the best thing you do at university…
Update – DU Gospel Choir came 2nd in the national finals, watch their amazing performance here