When I was 6 years old, my mom bought my twin sister and me our first Dixie Chicks CD. She used to travel for work a few times a month, and one of the weeks that she was away, my dad helped my sister and I learn to sing the song “Long Time Gone” together. After a whole week of practicing, we performed it for my mom, and that performance was the beginning of my passion for music and – more specifically – for singing. My sister and I started singing everywhere we went: Christmas parties, the streets of downtown Dallas, the French Quarter in New Orleans, Times Square (right next to the “Naked Cowboy”!), and pretty much anywhere we could get the attention of a few people and sing for them. As I grew up, I got so distracted with preparing for college and doing homework and filling out applications that I stopped focusing on music. My junior year of high school, I started a local indie-rock band with my best friends, and we started playing at benefit concerts and coffee shops, and all of a sudden, I fell in love with singing and performing again.
But wait – what does any of this have to do with SMU?
Well, fast forward to college. Life gets busy again, band members scatter amongst different universities, and I forget, once again, to pursue what makes me feel the most alive. Thankfully, though, SMU helped me to remember.
At SMU, during Family Weekend every year, we have a talent show with acts ranging from singing to dancing to beat-boxing. The new drummer in my band and I got together and decided to audition with one of our original songs. We made it through auditions and we were able to actually perform at the talent show. It was absolutely exhilarating. If you’ve never performed something personal and precious on stage for your peers and family members, you might not know how nerve-wracking, yet rewarding it feels, and words could never do this feeling justice. But because of the opportunities that SMU provides for its students to really engage in what they love, I got to experience this feeling once again.
In addition to the Family Weekend Talent Show, I was given another opportunity to perform the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with one of my best friends at Celebration of Lights, one of SMU’s most notable traditions that takes place in early December every year and involves hot chocolate, live music, and Christmas lights. Once again, SMU afforded me the opportunity to show an audience what I love and what keeps me excited about life. I’m not a music major, and I could probably never be at the talent level of the students in Meadows School of the Arts, but I still get to live out my passion for music on a large scale because of SMU.
So, I might not be singing Dixie Chicks songs anymore, but I’m constantly reminded to pursue that 6-year-old’s dream here at SMU, 14 years after it all started.
By Jacqui Jacoby