Just over a year ago I joined a Sweet Adelines group called Heart of New Jersey Chorus. For those who do not know what Sweet Adelines are, they are “women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance.” This was an opportunity to do something I’d always wanted to, but was afraid to: sing and perform. But after undergoing cancer treatment, I was ready to start pushing my fears aside. Since the moment I auditioned and became a member, the women have been supportive and loving. They didn’t just let me sing with them, they accepted me into their family.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to join them on a retreat – an extremely full weekend of choreography, singing and coaching to fine tune our performing abilities. This is especially helpful as we prepare to compete in the Sweet Adelines NY/NJ Region 15 convention in March.
But the weekend ended up being about so much more than music for me. What some of these women probably don’t realize is that about a year ago they saved me in a way. After dealing with cancer and everything that came with it, and after it, I felt like I was letting certain parts of life pass me by. I had a daily routine, a routine which I had come to enjoy, but I was allowing myself to get too comfortable in the safety of it. There were things I’d always wanted to do in life, but was far to shy or scared to actually pursue. When I found the women of Heart of New Jersey Chorus, I found a piece of me I hadn’t realized was lost to begin with.
The weekend retreat became about connecting with one another, to open up and learn about each other as well as ourselves. I came home with a better understanding of not only why I loved to sing, but also of why I needed these women. Together, we cheer for one another on during the good times, comfort one another during the difficult times, and offer strength during the times that we need an extra push. We are women of different age groups from various walks of life who have taken the love of singing and compiled a group that is so much more than that. These women have become my friends and an extension of my family. I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to join with them in harmony.