| Diary Serial |

Starring Role: Chapter 9

“If we have to start this song from the beginning one. more. time,” I mutter to Baylee


No more wandering the hallways during or between our scenes; now, when we’re not in play practice, Baylee and I are expected to be singing our hearts out for the choir.

"Heroes" is coming out of my ears and I don’t remember why I ever liked the song "Tefillah Sheli." The ninth graders are so immature and the twelfth graders in choir all seem to share Shira’s sentiments and look at us like we’ve got everything going for us, and why are we getting solos too?

By the time we’ve been choir members for a week, Baylee has two duets, I have a solo, and both of us are in harmony for all songs. Baylee hums the high harmonies incessantly, and I spend most of my time gritting my teeth to hold back from snapping at her to stop it already. Of course, practice is an absolute disaster, as well.

“If we have to start this song from the beginning one. more. time,” I mutter to Baylee. We’re not in positions this time; Chan and Devora gave up fighting on that and are just trying to perfect the transposition in the interlude, where we all have to move up a key. Honestly, it’s not that complicated, but for some reason it’s taking forever to get everyone to do it without all of us going completely flat.

“Okay, okay, I think we’ve got it now!” Chan says. “One more time, from the beginning, and then we’re going to practice the English song. Here goes!”

“Shh, ninth grade, please,” Devora says. She looks frustrated. I feel a twinge of pity for her; it’s not easy heading such a big choir — especially when so many girls don’t seem particularly interested. I can understand them, though. Some choirs can be cool — acting choir, the small choir — but this is just a hodgepodge of girls who didn’t make it into anything else, not even song-dance.

Practice stumbles to a close, and Chan dismisses everyone with instructions to come next time with lots of energy. “No sitting around next practice — we’re doing everything in positions, beginning to end, okay? And then next week… we can start choreography! Devora and I have some great moves planned, and we’re gonna change formation and everything. It’s going to be super cool!”

There’s a ragged cheer. I cringe inwardly. Choreography, seriously? It has to be seriously dumb stuff to work for everyone here. I mean, there’s a reason they’re not in dance or even song-dance. What are we going to do, all lift up our hands to the heavens at the words “Abba sheli… shema koli”? Three steps to the right, clap, and run forward like the Miami Boys Choir?

“Whatever they do, I just hope it’s not absolutely mortifying,” I mutter. Baylee gives me a strange look, and then deliberately turns away. Huh? A few other girls overhear me and titter.

“Can I speak to you, Rena?” Devora approaches me, looking uncomfortable. “Uh, privately?” She glances at Baylee, then back at me.

“Suuure,” I say, feeling somehow like I’m in trouble. But Devora’s my friend who happens to be choir head, she’s not Miss Weller.

We find an empty classroom and Devora perches on a desk.

“Listen, Rena, I get the feeling you’re not so happy being in choir, maybe I’m wrong,” she says, all in a rush. “But I just wanted to tell you — we need you. The choir really needs you. The harmonies, the solo, you have no idea how much stronger it is now. And please — could you just, you know, be a part of it? Without, like, making it feel, you know, negative and stuff?”

I bite my lip. Devora’s nice; I feel bad letting her down.

“It’s — it’s nothing against you,” I say, awkwardly. “It’s just — I never wanted to be in choir. I wanted to be in play.”

“But you are in play.” Devora looks bewildered. “It’s like an extra, you get to perform twice. Isn’t that even better?”

Not when it’s three nerdy scenes and a 50-girl choir, I think.

“Can you just, you know, give it your all at choir practice? It would make such a difference to us. And everyone,” Devora appeals to me.

I swallow hard. I didn’t want this; it’s about as far from my dreams as I could get. But Chan and Devora need me. They want me.

“I’ll do it,” I concede.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 894)

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