Last week marked the one year anniversary of my joining Penn Singers the spring semester of my freshman year, so I’ve had enough Facebook memory notifications to give me cause to reflect on my experience thus far. [Warning: if you really hate clichés with a burning passion, look away now!] This was, hands down, one of the best decisions I have made since coming to college, and I think my time at Penn would have been entirely different had I not become a part of the Singers community. I realized, somewhere between forgetting to get a keyboard for cabaret and crying with laughter at Iolanthe madlibs, that I would be a Singer for life.
Penn Singers is such a unique group in that it appeals to a diverse group of people with many interests, whether it be opera, light opera, musical theater, or just singing and acting in general. By now we’ve established that I’m prone to sappy hyperbole, but I say this in all seriousness. I am in awe that I get to share this experience with such talented, dedicated, insanely busy, and loyal Penn students. The element of Singers that I like the most is the fact that we all get to keep coming back semester after semester to participate in shows as a cohesive company as both performers and tech members.
A lot people ask me how I can do a light opera every spring, or think it is just a little quirk of the performing arts community at Penn. My answer is this: “Nobody is too ‘cool’ for G&S.” That’s right– check yo’ egos at the door and just commit to it. What makes doing Gilbert and Sullivan fun (although I do admit that it may not be everyone’s theatrical cup of tea) is wholeheartedly accepting the utter nonsense and comic overacting and pathetically fake British accents and punny jokes about Parliament. Through all of that and more, the company becomes much closer. The storylines are outrageous and the music is difficult but it really is worth it.
After my first Singers show (Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, which might be the reason I am so pro-G&S… but I digress) I decided I wasn’t busy enough and ran for the board position of secretary. And before you ask, yes, the #secretarylin is most definitely a thing. Even though I commonly send emails at 2 in the morning, my life has come to revolve around what the best google forms backgrounds are, I get sad when people don’t include fun facts on the conflict form, and now my Amazon account thinks I’m very interested in fake microphones and magnetic chess boards, I really enjoy being a board member. We share a rewarding camaraderie and I am glad to have the opportunity to give back to the company.
In conclusion (mostly because I have to get to class), Penn Singers is a special group. I sometimes find myself laughing at– and even making– inside jokes from shows and moments that happened before I even joined the company, and that just proves to me how tight-knit we truly are. From the first rehearsal read-through to falling asleep at obscenely late cast parties (s/o to Nescobar’s head for making such a wonderful pillow), the company reflects the warm and welcoming spirit of its members and the all-important focus on coming together and putting on a fantastic show. It certainly makes a big place like Penn seem very small (I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of cosmic rule that you have to run into no fewer than two other Singers every time you’re on Locust walk).
Thanks for sticking with me for this whole thing (if you’re wondering, my only qualification for writing this blog post is that I’m best friends with the webmaster). Stayed tuned to hear more from other company members soon! Much love to Singers everywhere!
(pictured below, Penn Singers Board Fall 2015 smiling through tech week; class of 2018 Singers squad at formal)