I remember the day Angelus was told we were no longer invited to participate in Vespers. Everyone got quiet, but the quiet didn’t last for long. It was replaced with tears, questions and anger.
As a freshman, I came in with no knowledge of Vespers and its importance to choir members or to the culture of Augustana, which it is so closely intertwined with. I learned quickly, watching this powerful and proud group of girls fight tooth and nail to get their chance back.
I sat aside, quietly supporting and comforting them when they needed. It wasn’t my prerogative to do anything other than lift their voices up. I could share in their pain but not their anger. I couldn’t feel their anger because what they felt was so uniquely their own, and it was based on those deep feelings of betrayal and abandonment.
With the loss of our director, Paul Nesheim, Angelus was again a controversial subject. Students and staff alike were asking where he was and what had happened. They asked us, the choir members, and we didn’t have an answer.
Instead of dropping the subject and allowing Angelus members a moment to breathe, I remember hearing the “answers” from other students. Members of the Augustana Choir, the bands and students in the Fryxell building all had their answers.
The kicker was that they didn’t know the truth, just like us. Rumors spread, and it seemed like everyone was telling me and my fellow Angelus members what had happened.
I ask people to please stop guessing about the situation.
We deserved to know what had happened. We did find out eventually, but those who spread rumors made the situation worse. The divide we feel only grew with the month we spent in limbo.
Our story is not for anyone to share in the Commons over a cup of coffee.
Our choir is filled with excellent leaders, ambitious performers and kind hearts, and they hear your words.
We returned to Vespers with our hard work and dedication. We have done everything in our power to strengthen our community with the music we love, and we deserve respect.
Presently, it feels like Angelus is valued as little more than a gossip machine. That’s not what we are. We’re a choir. All we have done is sing.