Hard work does not always pay off

Having early success sometimes results in heartache later

Being accepted into All-State is what most music kids want on their résumé once they graduate high school.
Performing at the Lied Center in Lincoln at All-State choir or band is like “making it” for any high school musician.
In 2016, the list of students accepted into the choir from Scottsbluff was sent directly to vocal director Brad Ronne.
The list came out while I was at show choir at 7 am. I remember anxiously waiting for it to be posted and when it showed up on the projector, I immediately scanned through the names to find mine.
The third name on the list read, “Shelby Fisher-Soprano 1.”
The excitement I felt when I saw my name was like winning the lottery, because I was going to have the opportunity to sing with some of the best musicians in the state.
Going to All-State was definitely one of the highlights of my high school career.
Unfortunately, during my junior and senior years, I did not feel the same excitement when seeing the list.
For the past few years, I have gone through the same audition process of preparing the music, auditioning, and waiting for the list to come out. But I never got the results I did sophomore year.
During junior year, the entire class was required to take tests all morning so I did not get to see the list right when it came out. But in the afternoon when Mr. Ronne read the list aloud to the class, I felt the tears well up in my eyes when he said, “That’s it.” It was like somebody took all of the self-esteem I had and tore it into pieces.
I spent the following weeks constantly thinking about why I didn’t make it, spending a few nights keeping myself awake about it. Nearly every time I thought about it, I couldn’t help but cry.
I will never forget that day.
I remembered the feeling so vividly next senior year when we got the music. I memorized it enough that it was showing up in my dreams.
Every year the guest conductor posts what he wants for each song online so aspiring members can be prepared before rehearsals. Naturally, I found those notes and made sure I practiced the exact way the director wanted them.
After two and a half months of rigorous practicing, the audition day came. While other students frantically crammed for the audition, I felt confident.
All of the work that I had put in for just five minutes in front of a microphone.
I practiced the three cuts for 45 minutes before my audition to warm up my voice and get my entrances perfect. I figured I wanted my senior year to be perfect and that making All-State would be just the beginning.
I went into the recording studio and did my run-through take. As I sang through my nerves, every entrance was perfect but the high notes were definitely not. I memorized the notes that Mr. Ronne gave me, and as the recording began I heard,“This is a soprano one audition from Scottsbluff. ” After that, everything I did was a blur.
An anxious 10 days passed before the list came out again at 7 am. In the middle of drill team practice, I ran out of the gym, faster than I think I’ve ever sprinted before.
A bunch of kids were huddled around the list. As I ran past kids walking away from the list, I didn’t see any smiles or excitement from them.
As I approached the list, I thought “not me, not this year.”
Sure enough, I scanned through the list and I did not see “Shelby Fisher-Soprano 1” for the second time.
I walked away from the list and immediately congratulated the people standing around me because their success was far better than my failure.
I went into the office of the choir room and started talking to Mr. Ronne. I just kept asking myself, “What did I do wrong?” Every time I asked myself that question, more and more tears fell from my face.
As my friends posted pictures of the amazing time they had in Lincoln, I was so happy for them, but I also wondered why I wasn’t there with them. I still wonder what I could’ve done better on my audition or how I could’ve prepared better.
And while I may never know, I do know that I became a better musician and grew from every experience, good and bad.