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'Shocked, surprised, crushing, hurt, sad': Volunteer's senior singers talk about the end of their high school careers

Jeff Bobo • May 4, 2020 at 6:00 PM

CHURCH HILL — Senior members of Volunteer High School’s choir were recently asked to talk about losing the final 10 weeks of their senior year due to the COVID-19 shutdown, not just as student performers, but also as members of the Class of 2020.

Here is how they responded:

Grace Roberts: “COVID-19 has disrupted my senior year. I have worked hard and had plans to go to individual All-State in April. For months, our choirs have prepared for competition, and we were awarded a superior rating to qualify us for state festival. It was cancelled. We also had a Pennsylvania trip scheduled that was cancelled. I was looking forward to this final field trip with my choir friends in high school.”

Briana Wilson: “I was so shocked and surprised that my senior year would end like this. It was upsetting to find out that I wouldn’t get one last hurrah in choir. It feels like I worked so hard for nothing. I’m very thankful for all the memories in choir that made me smile, laugh, and sometimes cry. Hopefully I’ll get to sing with the choir one last time for graduation.”

Lydia Culbertson: “Never in my life did I picture this being how my senior year would end. I will never get the opportunity to sing with my choir again, never get to walk into the choir room one more time as a student, and never get to participate in a state-level festival again. Right now there are a lot of different emotions running through my mind. While I am very sad that this is how it has to end, I am so thankful for the many wonderful opportunities and lifelong friendships that choir has given me over the past four years. I will never forget the lasting impact that this choir has made on my heart.”

Hannah Price: “Choir was my favorite thing about high school, and I knew from the beginning of this school year that it would be what I missed most when I graduated. I've done my best to be as positive as possible through quarantine, but knowing that I will never have choir class again with my amazing choir director and friends is really upsetting. We worked really hard this year to make it to state, and we aren’t able to go now. I have spent years trying to convince Mr. Wenger to take us to Pennsylvania, and it might’ve been the thing I was looking forward to the most in my senior year. The spring concert is always the most fun concert all year, and it was going to be a combination of the last three themes, making it a perfect last concert for the seniors. I just really feel deprived of my high school experience. I wish I had known that the last day I had choir would be my last day, so I could’ve said goodbye. However, even though I’m upset I won’t have my last nine weeks of high school choir, I am thankful to have had something in my life worth missing so greatly. Volunteer’s concert choir and Volcappella will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Julianna Varner: “I think the biggest thing I will miss is not the big events choir offers, but the day-to-day activities. It was so special to work with a group of people with the same goals as myself. Every day we were pushing ourselves to be better and to make beautiful music. It was the daily routine in which the best memories were made. The trips would have been amazing, but I’ve found that the joy is in the journey.”

Nicole Carvagno: “This semester was my first getting to be in choir, and I was excited that we qualified for state, and that I would get to spend more time with this amazing community. I was going to go on a trip to Pennsylvania with the choir and see things I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to experience with some amazing people. It’s incredibly disappointing that none of that will ever get to happen, and although it is small in comparison with what’s happening in the world, it was, and is, a big deal to me.”

Matthew E. Johnson: “My main issue has been missing the people I’ve met in choir who have genuinely changed my life. I love this program so much even though I’ve only been in choir a few semesters. Everyone in the choirs works so hard, most of the time, to create amazing pieces of music that we get to share with the community and with each other; but now we won’t get to because of the pandemic. I greatly miss Volcappella. Though we goofed around, a lot, I came to make great friends there and get closer to some friends I already had. To say that hearing All-State 2020 had been canceled was a crushing announcement is an understatement. It hurt so much to receive this news as this was the first state-level festival I have ever made, and it was also my last. All and all, I really just wish that I had one more year; because I am going to miss so many people from school and singing with them, and making memories with everyone, and I know that the Pennsylvania trip was going to be such a blast. I can’t wait to come back and see how far everyone has come either as an audience member or a student teacher.”

P. Arrington: “It’s really upsetting. This was my first and last year in choir due to my schedule and I was super excited for the opportunities I had, like the state festival and trip in May. I am glad that I got to experience what I did, though. It’s great to be a part of a community like this.”

Jade Dinger: “While I know that missing the rest of the year was necessary, I cannot help but feel disappointed and upset about missing the rest of the year. As this situation is not something anyone would think to happen, and when it did it took away things that I never expected that I would miss out on, and it just leaves me feeling melancholy.”

Amber Robinson: “I was sad when I heard that the school year had to come to an end due to COVID-19, because we had a concert left, and also we were headed to the state festival. I loved being in choir with my classmates because we all experience new things on a day-to-day basis like finding out that we can hit the notes we couldn’t and much more. We have all become close in my four years of choir, and I have made many friends and also I found to be confident in my voice and sing out.”

Abbie Trent: “It makes me sad that I wasn’t able to go to state with the concert choir. The amount of work that was put into the audition performance was incredible. I’ve only been in concert choir for this semester, and it has been an amazing experience for me.”

Jacob Casebolt: “It’s sad not being able to be in school for my final nine weeks of high school and not getting to do these activities that we were planning to do. I get why this needed to happen though. Because nobody should potentially die over an event like all-state.”

Jarran Ahaz Armstrong: “It’s rather disheartening, but I’m not too incredibly upset about it. Though I had looked forward to certain opportunities, I know there’s not much that can really be done about it but to move on.”

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