Music is an escape for many of us, a place of solace that can make our problems disappear with the press of a “play” button. I’m no different and have spent my fair share of days with my iPod on full volume to leave the world behind.
Coming to STU in the fall of 2011, there were a lot of days like those. Everything was new and terrifying, so I found security in the comforting bars of music that were just an earphone away. I also was fortunate to have another musical avenue that was available; a choir that I had been part of for over five years called the Lintuhtine Music Academy of Oromocto. Lintuhtine is Maliseet and means “Let us sing.” I became a member when I first moved here and it has been my home ever since.
When I graduated from high school, I “graduated” from choir as well, seeing as it was a youth choir for ages 8-18. I was sad to leave the group, but excited to be starting a new chapter in my life. A few weeks before my choir “graduation” was supposed to happen, my choir director – now a friend of the family – asked me to come back as a member and help out the younger singers with whatever they needed.
At the time I struggled with the decision to accept of not: should I move on? Would I be happy with my new role? Did I really want to spend my days with teens my own age, only to spend my evenings with younger kids? Would I be able to relate to their lives and personalities? Would they annoy me endlessly?
On my first night of choir after the summer I arrived at the studio directly from campus. My anxieties had been building throughout the day about coming back, and I was nervous as I entered the building and waited for someone to notice me.
Kids from the younger choir were running everywhere and screaming that they didn’t want to go home. Frazzled parents chased them, pleading to put on their coats while the disobedient children ran from them with someone elses’ shoes on their feet. The narrow hallway was bursting with noise and screams that made my ears ring, but a smile broke out on my face and I relaxed. It was crazy, and I was sure that some of the kids would be annoying at times, but this chaos was familiar to me. That moment in the hallway convinced me that I had made the right decision. This is what I loved so much about Lintuhtine – the fact that panic and disorder would give way to tranquillity and confidence when concert time arrived. It was the fact that music connected us all together, and being a member allowed us to become friends with people we might not have otherwise known.
After the first practice, facing a new day on campus was no longer such a terrifying feat. No matter how unfamiliar and intimidating my day was, I could always take refuge with my Lintuhtine family.
Going back and forth from young kids to the mature teens definitely has its hard times, but being able to help form someone elses’ childhood makes me confident that I made the right choice in coming back to choir. Music is something that has always been and will always be a large part in my life, and without Lintuhtine to lean on I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Having a community behind you gives you opportunities to explore who you are and discover the potential that you possess whilst always knowing that if you fail you always have a family egging you on.
With the role that I have now, it’s encouraging to know that I’m helping others achieve their musical goals just like others helped me. I’ve learned many things in my time with Lintuhtine, but the most important is that no matter how far I fall, my choir family will always be there to catch me and pick up the pieces.
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