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Conquering fears through song

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The Meladies is Marquette's all-female a cappella group. Photo via Facebook

The Meladies is Marquette’s all-female a cappella group. Photo via Facebook

If my third-grade self could see me now, she would be surprised and petrified.

To understand this, I first have to let you in on a traumatizing story from my past. Cue flashback to my days at Catholic elementary school 11 years ago.

It was Catholic Schools Week, a national event that my school participated in every year. On Wednesday, all students and faculty had to attend the annual Catholic Schools Week mass. Even members from my church came. Each grade was required to help out with different parts of the mass, and that year, the third grade was in charge of supplying the music.

I was chosen to sing a solo for a hymn that shall not be named, for it still haunts me to this day. I walked up to the podium to lead the choir in song. As I looked up to begin, hundreds of eyes stared at me. I quickly looked down, but it was too late. My heart beat rapidly, my hands shook and I could not get the image of those eyes out of my head.

I made it through the first line of my solo, joined with the rest of the choir for the chorus, but as I was approaching the second line, I made the mistake of looking into the eyes of the crowd. I missed my cue, sang half of the first line again and then stopped. My music teacher waved to me and tried to help me back on track, but it was too late. The snickering and the finger pointing amongst the crowd had already begun. The guest priest who led the mass proceeded to make fun of me in his homily, and my peers mocked me for two weeks straight. From that day on, nine-year-old Hannah swore an oath to never sing publicly again.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago, when I stood outside Marquette Hall room 200 holding an audition sheet for the Meladies, Marquette’s all-female a cappella group.

I kept thinking, “How did I get here?”

I wanted to run away when my name was called. I looked over to my roommate, who accompanied me to my audition for moral support, and gave her a look that said, “Oh my goodness, I think I’m going to die.”

“You got this,” she said. “Good luck!”

To put it simply, the audition was rough. I could not match the pitch of the notes on the piano, but at least I did not mess up the lyrics this time around. I was not really surprised when I received an email telling me I didn’t make it into the Meladies.

None of that mattered though. I was just proud for overcoming one of my greatest fears. I never thought I would ever sing in front of people again. Singing was something I only did when I was alone in the car or in the shower.

The moral of the story is simple: face your fears, do things outside of your comfort zone and don’t let the unknown scare you. Embrace it. College is a time in our lives when we should be taking risks (not incredibly dangerous or illegal risks, mind you) and trying new things. Do not wait 11 years to go skiing, join the debate team or whatever it is that scares you.

If my third-grade self could see me now, she would be surprised and question my judgment as to why on earth I decided to audition for the Meladies. Yet, I think she would also be proud of me. I know present-day Hannah is.

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