On Rhodes Singers
I cannot say enough good things about Rhodes Singers. I joined the group last semester, and I would love to stay involved for my four years here. Though Rhodes is small comparatively, it still has many more people than my high school did, and having Singers has helped in a major way as far as getting involved in a community here, and there is a lot of truth to the idea that you’ll meet your best friends through involvement in something you share interest in.
I never had the opportunity to be involved in choir in high school, so I can’t compare it to that, but I can tell you that it has been a wonderful experience so far, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Though everyone in Singers has different levels of experience, I am consistently amazed by the things we are able to accomplish together.
In particular, I’ve learned so much about collaboration—within sections of the choir, with our director, Dr. Skoog, and as one unit together working towards the same goal. This coming spring, we will take our annual tour, and this year our destination is New Orleans. Since this is my first year, I have no idea what’s in store, but based on what I’ve heard from upperclassmen, this trip is vital in terms of solidifying the bonds that are so noticeable within this group.
While I was intimidated by the idea of Rhodes Singers at first, because there are so many talented individuals, including our director and accompanist, I have felt more welcomed, challenged, and included in this group than I could have ever expected, and that is an experience I am so thankful for. In addition to feeling like a part of this tight-knit family, Dr. Skoog has drilled many words of wisdom that apply to more than just music into our heads.
He’ll often ask us to finish a sentence, for example, when we are tired or uninspired, “A good choir…” he will prompt. We all know the answer he is looking for. And finally someone will shout out, “Cares!” A good choir cares. If we do something less than our best, he’ll kindly remind us that we don’t want to be the “Mezzo-Suck-o” choir. The Mezzo-Suck-o choir doesn’t care. That’s what separates a good choir from the chaff.
Even if sometimes, we don’t believe we have it in us, Dr. Skoog always gets the best out of us. His insistence is the best way to encourage us to keep trying—to keep caring, like a good choir does. And we know that if we give him less than all we’ve got, we’ll have to do it again, so that’s usually all it takes. And, as he also frequently tells us, “Singing is an athletic event.” At least, if you’re doing it well. :)
Our director, William Skoog gestures to our accompanists after completing a song during Christmas at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
The photos in this post are courtesy of Carolyn Baker (Rhodes Singers President) and are from our annual concert at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Memphis.