This weekend, I attended the 10 year reunion concert for Low Key, an a cappella group at JMU of which I was one of the first members. I have a self-proclaimed sordid past with LK, due to drama I more than likely inflicted on myself by being indignant about silly things and my big, big, non-filtered mouth. I was definitely looking forward to the weekend for a long time, but I had some sour grapes before I got there.
To explain a bit of background, in the months leading up to the reunion, one of the current members contacted me to help him find everyone from the group's past and asked if I wanted to sing my old solo for "Not An Addict" at the concert. However, about 3 weeks before, he told me that they wouldn't be able to learn the song in time, so it was being removed from the set list. Needless to say, I was very disappointed, because I truly TRULY loved singing that song and because I miss performing more than anything in my life. I didn't take the "rejection" well, acting a little bit like a diva about it. "Oh, I guess they just can't handle a complicated arrangement..."
Anyway, I went to the practice on Friday evening, and I quickly realized that those grapes needed to be quashed immediately. I looked around Taylor 405, filled with current students and alumni I both knew and others I met that evening, and I saw that I had been concentrating on the trees, totally missing out on the forest. We auditioned for this group in 2000 not to be a star, but to combine all that awesome talent into one place and simply just SING.
I was reminded of this when Hugh (the guy who started this whole nonsense) handed me something magical- a notebook containing the list of potential names, the old original contact list, and all the original AUDITION INFORMATION including CRITIQUES OF OUR SOLOS and our information sheets. It was a total reminder of that 18 year old girl I was, bouncy and silly and desperate to sing again.
In general, I looked around that room at the 50 or so people who had been affected by this group just as much as I had, and I was never more proud. Everyone wants to feel like they've done something with their life, like they've left their mark on the world. Seeing the faces around that circle, around the arc, in those rows, and I knew I had. I was a part of this, from Day Freakin' One, and it made my heart swell.
In related news, I had also been in a long, long terrible fight with a guy in the group that had originally been one of my closest friends before said fight. However, we saw each other for the first time in (almost) 10 years on Saturday, and I have to say that it was pretty great. I am tired of being angry, of holding hate in my body. It's not healthy, and it's not a good look for me. In fact, his presense was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. After the concert, where almost all the alums gathered onstage with the current Keymates and we sang together, I got a little emotional. (Hello, my name is Jessica. I like to cry.) I hid backstage for a second to compose myself, and I was totally busted by three former Keymates from my old days in the group. They all laughed at me (as usual!), and I felt 19 all over again. After a minute, all of them left me except that one fellow. We made eye contact, and I wiped away a tear, and I know he felt like I did- young and nostalgic and like nothing had changed. We laughed again and shared a quick hug, and it brought back a rush of the best memories.
To sum up, this weekend was exactly what I needed. I have discarded all the old, bad feelings I have been holding on to, and I am concentrating on the fact that this group is awesome. They kick so much ass. They make me so proud. They deserve all the praise they get. Low Key had to start somewhere, and I'm glad I was there to help the group become what it is today- a family. So much oogamama, I can't even describe it.
Watch LK sing here!