This post is going to focus on one of my favourite things about Calgary.
But before I go on, I’m going to take you back to the time of Young Cassie.
Going back in time!
I was very different when I was younger. (Sort of. I’m still addicted to reading. And I’m not stopping any time soon. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.)
I was a very shy, quiet kid.
I was terrified to talk to anyone that wasn’t my family or friends. I was scared of being made fun of for what I said.
Who knew that this demented looking child would grow up to be so introverted?
What I was mostly scared to do, was to sing in front of others.
I loved to sing and I would sing at home or with my close friends but I was scared of what others would say if I sang in front of them.
I was also afraid to dance in front of anyone as well. (Well, anything physical really, I started pretty early with the whole “body consciousness” that every little girl unfortunately has.)
So when my mom took me to audition for the Youth Singers of Calgary when I was 11, I thought she was nuts.
But I was secretly very, very excited.
I started YS (Youth Singers) in my Grade 6 year. My mom also started a choir at my school that year as well. (She’s a music teacher. Yes, my mom was my teacher. I’m one of those kids. I have also called her “mom” by mistake in class as well.)
I was so nervous for my first day at YS. I knew absolutely no one and had never sung in front of other people who liked to sing as well.
I was surprised how easy it was for me to fit in.
Within a few minutes, I made a few friends who were just like me.
They liked to sing and dance and be creative!
In my school, if you liked to sing and dance, you were weird. Sports was the way to go.
Unfortunately, I’m not so good at sports. (When I was in soccer I was the kid running after butterflies and making ant hills in the middle of the field.)
I loved that we got to learn about music theory and how to read music.
We were taught the basic moves of show choirs then we got to learn choreo!
I definitely didn’t want to run after butterflies when we were dancing.
I felt more confident in myself after a few rehearsals. And I was NEVER confidant before.
I even decided to help my mom with her choir.
Just imagine little (actually, not so little. I was a chubby kid.) me in front of my mom’s choir, helping them.
Well, maybe not for you guys. You didn’t really know me then.
But I knew me!
And it was crazy. Believe me.
When it came time to do our Christmas concert at school, my mom gave me the biggest solo of the show.
Now, I know, I know, favouritism right?
Well, maybe a little.
The song was Breathe of Heaven and it’s a pretty hard song. ( Especially when you’re in elementary school.)
My mom had done this song in previous Christmas concerts and I’ve been to see ALL of her concerts so I knew it off by heart.
And with the help learning to sing better at Youth Singers, I could do it well for a Grade 6 kid. (I could probably ROCK it now. Just sayin’)
But all I remember of that solo is being scared out of my mind before I walked into the gym to sing it.
I remember one of the kids mom’s who was helping backstage, calm my nerves then tell me I was crazy for saying that I couldn’t do it. She knew I could.
I really wish I remembered her name.
Thank you whoever you are if you are reading this!!!
I remember walking down the aisle of people, a bright light, then walking back down the aisle of people.
Kind of like dying in a way.
Although, I guess I wouldn’t know that.
Or do I?
Did I sing?
I guess so.
Did people like it?
My mom has this thing about no applause until the end of the show (it takes up too much time) so she gets the audience to wait.
But I guess they didn’t wait after my song.
AND I DIDN’T HEAR ANY OF IT.
I was so worried about what people would think that I didn’t listen to them.
The next day, everyone kept telling me how great I was and what a big round of applause I got and I remembered nothing.
I was then that I realized that this could be something I was actually good at.
And I liked it.
Later that year when I did my first spring show at the Jubilee Auditorium of the Youth Singers, I listened to the applause.
I stood there onstage at the end of the show, grinning my head off because the feeling you get when the audience leaps to their feet is such a rush.
It’s the best feeling in the world.
I was hooked.
I went on to do 10 more years with the Youth Singers of Calgary.
I got to travel the world with them. (Literally, they do tours around the world. It’s pretty awesome.)
Us in Disney World/The Bahamas!
Us in South America! (Rio de Janeiro to be exact for this picture.)
Us in Costa Rica!
A silly one of us in Costa Rica!
…That was an awesome tour.
I improved my skills of singing and dancing and I met life-long friends there, including my husband. (CHEEESSSSEEEYYYYY. I know. Suck it up.)
But most of all, I found myself there. (MORE CHEESE.)
I didn’t have to be afraid of who I was at Youth Singers because I knew that the staff and my friends would still love me no matter what.
I wasn’t afraid anymore.
Ok, maybe there are still some things that scared me, but I found myself taking more risks.
I honestly don’t know who I would be today if I didn’t have YS.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing a blog about my life for the world to see, that’s for sure.
And I don’t think I would be singing.
And that would be a very sad life for me.
(I’m a little sad writing this right now. I miss it! I hope to go back to it one day.)
So even if singing and dancing isn’t your thing, I challenge you to try something that scares you, you might just be surprised.
Sorry this post was so sappy.
Actually, I’m not.
Suck it up buttercup.