Friday, August 21, 2009

Ms. D

So Monday, August 10th, my choir teacher and friend died. I knew when my sister called that Ms. D's time was up. In my almost 28 years, I've only had 3 family members die and I wasn't really close to any of them. So this was the closest person to me that has died, we saw her at least three hours a day almost every day. So anyways I was thinking back to my choir days in high school. There are only two things I miss about high school, wrestling and madrigals. Other than that my high school pretty much sucked.

When I started high school, if anyone would have told me that my future included me being very involved in choir I would have laughed at them. I never sang a day in my life. My mom even tried to stop me from joining choir because I don't sing at church and she knew I was in it for the easy A. Her attempts to stop me failed though.

From fourth grade up until high school I was in band, I gave it up in high school so I can do sports. My freshman year, as second semester was approaching, my friend John kept trying to get me to join choir. I wanted nothing to do with choir but he convinced me to just do it as an elective so I could get an easy A. So finally he convinced me and I talked to Ms D. about joining. She had me sing a note and decided since I'm not tone deaf she would put me in acca-pella choir. That's a step up above mixed choir. Not only that but somehow I ended up joining concert choir, every Thursday night for two hours and it counts as a 7th class. Why not, another easy A right?

So at the end of the year I was blown away when I heard the Madrigals sing. The Madrigal choir is the best of the best in the school and they do about 75 performances a year and even go on tour. Only six people for each part and people only get in by trying out. On top of that there are only a couple open slots for each part every year. My freshman year my voice still hadn't changed much. I was a very high tenor. So at the end of the year I decided to try out for Madrigals. I was very nervous during try outs. A lot of people watch and the current Madrigals all sit around and listen and give Ms. D their input. Tryouts are done singing the schools alma matter in a quartet. So I overcame my nervousness and did my best. At the end of the years choir award ceremony I was shocked to find out that I made it in Madrigals.

So on to my sophmore year. My voice changed over summer! I was having a hard time hitting all those tenor notes that came so easily the year before. Every time we learned a new song we would get graded on them by doing quartets, usually weekly. I was extremely intimidated by the vetran Madrigals, my voice was changing, and I didn't want to be heard in the quartets. So needless to say I was failing my quartets miserably. I had to sing loud to sing on key and I didn't feel like singing balls out with the rest of the class grading me and the results were failure. I had the feeling that Ms. D regretted putting me in the group and I was very sure that if I didn't improve that I was going to get cut. My sister was pretty sure of that too so her and my friend Todd tried to help me improve on my quartets. I was getting yelled at pretty good by Ms. D, but that's the funny thing about Ms D. Ms D was a special teacher. She could yell at me all day and I never got mad because I knew she was only doing it because she cared. A good teacher or a good parent has to have a balance. They can't just yell at their kids and beat them down or the kids will hate them. They can't try so hard to be the kids friend that the kid does whatever they want and have no discipline. Ms. D was good at playing both sides with the perfect balance. I remember on more than one occasion people were doing too much goofing off so Ms. D gave the lecture and walked off to her office red faced. Everyone knew they let her down and she didn't have to do anything more. Everyone would straighten up really quick and try to please Ms. D by giving it their best. The student director would hop on the piano and there would be no more screwing around. So anyways I was doing good at practicing but completely blowing every quartet. Then at the Christmas concert, with 25 other Madrigals singing I wasn't so shy and I sang loud and actually sounded good. I knew the music and I had everyone else covering up my voice so I had no problem doing it right. Ms D came out of her way to let me know how good she thought I sounded that night. I know she didn't do that for everyone. She didn't need to feed everyone's egos. People in Madrigals were good and they knew it. But Ms. D sensed that I needed to hear that and she told me. This was a big confidence booster and it really helped me in the future.

The second semester of my sophmore year Ms. D decided to have me do some baritone and my quartets were improving. That year the group went to Orlando for tour. I was a slacker and didn't come up with the money so I was bummed out when I didn't get to go.

My junior year things just kept getting better. Ms. D had moved me to the bass section and I was doing really good on my quartets. Thanks to Ms. D I was doing better. That year we went on tour in Hawaii for a week. Tour was the part of the year that everyone looked forward to. We had a blast in Hawaii. One morning, I think the second day we were there, Ms. D and Sharon called us up and invited us on the island tour. We were all kinda like chickens with our heads cut off and didn't know what to do. There were so many things to do and the beach was just six blocks away so we didn't really know if we wanted to do the island tour, plus it was 17 bucks and we were teenagers with limited funds. Looking back now I can't believe how dumb we were for actually considering not taking a tour of the entire island. So Ms. D decided to make an offer we couldn't refuse. I dont remember if she paid our tickets completely or it might have been that she paid 12 and we paid 5. That part is shady in my memory. But either way Ms. D got something like 12 of us to go by paying for our tickets. She easily could have just taken the day and gone on the tour with Sharon and left us all alone, but she wanted to spend time with us and show us all a good time. How many teachers do you know that would do that? So needless to say we went on this island tour and had so much fun. It was probably the best day of our trip and we wouldn't have had the experience if it wasn't for the kindness of Ms. D and Sharon. We went everywhere. Diamondhead crater, the blowhole, the LDS temple, Dole Pineapple Factory, Waimea Bay, North Shore, Punchbowl Crater/Cemetary, Garden Of The Gods, Pali Lookout.

Then the best year of all was my senior year in madrigals. Ever since I was in Madrigals we had been nagging and nagging at Ms. D to let us do a song call "Soon Ah Be Done". It's the song I heard the Madrigals sing when I was a freshman, the song that made me want to join. Every year she turned us down on singing it, until my senior year. We were very excited to be singing that song, it was the best song we sang the whole time I was in choir. That year for tour we went to San Francisco for tour. Fun times.

At the end of the year we always had a party and Ms. D would get all the Madrigals a present, or a gag present. Well first, I was doing backflips in the pool at the party and knocked my head, then people tried to throw me in the pool and I hit my tailbone. So I left with a sore butt and a knot on my head. But this year Ms. D got me the funniest present. It was a well known fact that earlier in the year, during wrestling, I had to wrestle a girl from Ramona High School. I kicked her butt and Ms. D even showed the video during each of her choir classes. So for my end of the year present Ms. D got me a wrestling girl action figure. It was pretty funny. She always got us a present and told us why she got us that present. I'll never forget she got my friend a bar of soap because she heard that she washes her butt with the bar of soap and not her hand so she felt she needed her own bar of soap. I don't remember what others got. My sisters could probably contribute some pretty funny stories.

To make a long story short, highschool wouldn't have been the same without Ms. D. There would have been no Madrigals, there wouldn't have been all those memories, and I wouldn't have spent so much time with my twin sister. I went to a pretty crappy high school where the teachers didn't care and the students hated being there. Ms. D cared so much, not only about madrigals but our other classes, that she would get on us about keeping our grades up in other classes. She was involved in our school life, our madrigal life (obviously), and even our home lives to a point. If every teacher was like Ms. D there would be a lot more students graudating high school and a lot better people all around.

Ms.D playing around in San Francisco

San Francisco Tour

Just south of San Francisco, I think, or maybe North?

Getting ready to go to Hawaii. No we didn't take the bus the whole way, we flew, in a jet.

Us in the hotel lobby in San Francisco

Pearl Harbor

On our Island Tour. This was at Waimea Bay.

Cassandra and I at our hotel in Waikiki. One of the Aston hotels, I forget which one but I still know where to find it.

The temple in Laie