Last time with Us By: Madeline Dickey

Choir director Chelsea Bolas has recently performed her last concert with Paoli Jr/Sr High School.
A couple weeks before the concert, she shared with the students that she had gotten a job in Louisville, Kentucky. With the winter concert being her last, the students tried their hardest to make it memorable. Even surprising her with the song "Seasons of Love" at the end of the concert. I asked a few students and even Ms. Bolas about their experience. Here's what they said;
"My time is choir was...crazy, I guess you could say. At the beginning I was a little bit skeptical about how the year was going to go. I also got annoyed with the majority of the people that were in there, but as time went on, it got better. Ms. B has been someone I have looked up to. All the times I needed to talk to someone, I knew I could talk to her. She has been my rock the whole year and one of the biggest inspirations I've had. I honestly don't know what I'll do without her next semester, or who to turn to now. She's gained my trust and now she's leaving." explains Junior Alyssa Wilson.
"Choir was an experience. Choir is full of memories. Choir means the world to me. I met so many friends this pas year and a half. I believe I have grown as a musician and a person. Going into Varsity as a Freshman was terrifying. I really thought that, because I was a Freshman, that everyone would hate me. I have been very anxious recently and I have had a lot of anxiety. Music helped me through that. It was my only outlet. Getting to become friends with everyone in Varsity has become an honor. I have loved the experience. Choir has been really fun and I'm so glad I decided to join. Choir has had a huge impact on my life. Music is something I could never live without." Says Freshman Alicia Neale.
"Choir is really great, it opened up an entire world of music to me. It makes my day better, it makes it bearable. I love it a lot. But it isn't going to be the same without Ms. B. She made an already fun class even more fun! I'm really going to miss her." Says 8th Grader Chandler Hinton.
"​Ms. Bolas has done so much for choir here at PHS. Not only has she improved our school concerts, she has also gotten us involved in auditioning for the all-state honors choir, participating in contests, and singing in our local communities. I would like to tell Ms. Bolas that I really appreciate all of the work she has done for us. She has had an extremely positive impact on me personally, because she's helped me improve as a singer and has been there for me when I have struggles." Exclaims Senior Chase Meehan.
"Well, to be honest, I probably wouldn't be in choir if it wasn't for Ms. B being here. I was getting tired of Mrs. Stroud because it got to where I didn't want to attend concerts anymore. Now I love it and look forward to them!! I've made a ton of friends and I finally had a teacher I could actually depend on. Before being in Ms. B's choir, I was quite the introvert. As last year went by and this year came around, I popped out of my shell for the most part. She makes me feel special and like I am someone and will be someone when I grow to be an adult. Because of her, I know what I want to do when I get older; music. If she hasn't come, I probably would be a lost teenager right now looking for an identity to spare me from my troubles. Being in choir has emotionally affected me as well as spiritually. I have people I can depend on and who lift me up when I need to have some confidence. I have learned, too, to lift others up and to say, hey it IS okay to fall down, ya just gotta pick yourself right back up! I have learned so much from being in this choir. I've learned music, social skills, positivity, and much more! And it's because Ms. B has come and took the initiative to be our teacher and help us to become something bigger than us. We're a family, and let's hope it stays that way." Explains Junior Jillian Keen.
"At this time one year ago, we were struggling to figure out the new normal in choir. The winter concert last year was definitely an experience from which all of us learned a great deal. From that point, we started an intense uphill battle as we continued to intensely study solfege and how it relates to music. We prepared for ISSMA contest at the high school level, which was a huge success. The day of contest was an early one - the bus rolled out at 6:30, I believe. We were one of the first choirs to perform that day, and it was exhilarating. The judges must have thought so as well, because we came away from that with incredibly high scores, and the proceeds our choir uses for sight reading was then praised for the rest of the day at the band and orchestra ISSMA contest. I was so proud of how far we had come since December. The junior high students prepared a set of music to perform at a Kentucky Kingdom music festival and also received high scores! Paoli Jr/Sr high school choir began making a name for itself in the world outside of Paoli, and I was thrilled. Friday Night Live, the end of the year high school variety show, was incredible. Night and day from our holiday show in December. The students truly stepped up and worked so hard to make sure the music and choreography came together to make something truly special. This semester has been a whirlwind. Our junior high musical, The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood, was fantastic. I have loved to see all of my students, especially my junior high students, come out of their shells and sing loud! It filled my heart with joy to see the transformation the students went through. This winter concert process has been intense. The students performed their music with passion and respect for the history behind it. The show was lit, as the kids say. I could feel the energy being put out by everyone on stage, and it finally felt like we were all in sync. I will miss the family we have become intensely. None of this would have been possible if my students had not felt comfortable to be who they truly are in my classroom, and that more than anything is my biggest joy and accomplishment." Says Ms. Bolas when asked about her time with Paoli Choir.
Ms. Bolas will definitely be missed by the students. Tuesday, December 20, will be her last time with with the students, her last time with us.

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