The Royal Boys Choir The Royal Boys Choir

Part 1: The Awakening

When God Is Driving - A True Story

REGINALD VARNADO·

Part 1 - The Awakening


I always felt that I was put on this Earth for a very important reason. Even as a child I felt very different from other children, as if I had a specific task or assignment. Lately I've been feeling like I'm closer than ever to finding out what that is. Or maybe I have already started. This past year has been quite the experience and I would like to share with you what I believe was God starting to reveal my purpose.

I am a music teacher and have taught for 5 years. At the end of the 2015 school year my employer informed me that because of budget cuts my position would become a part-time position. Because my bills were still full-time, I was not able to accept the huge cut in pay. So I began searching for another job. All summer I could not find a music position. It was not until July when I found a school that was so excited to have me come and revamp their band program. Now I am much more comfortable with choir but I could not pass up a job. I had signed the paper work and was ready to begin my new job. I prayed and thanked God for opening the door and asked him to be with me. Probably two weeks before teachers return to work, my brother-in-law, who already had a teaching position, was looking online at the new teacher vacancies. He called me and informed me that Miller McCoy, and all boys public school was looking for a choir/ music appreciation teacher. Now this school was literally around the corner from where I lived. But I already had a job and they were excited to have me. I spoke with my dad who said I should go for it. So I did and I got the position.

School was starting in about a week so I didn't have much time to wrap my head around what I was about to get into. An all boys PUBLIC school, that has maintained an F grade for the few years it has been open, known for having many discipline issues, and I was going in to start a choir. During the days of teacher professional development, I could tell many had doubts about a choir being successful at this school. I began to have doubts myself. All I could do was pray and say "God let your will be done". And who knew I would be in for the shock of my life.

It was the first day of choir class, and as these 5th, 6th, and 7th graders walked through the door I could only laugh at the thought of what I was about to get into. I prepared myself for the worst. But as they sat down and looked at me, something felt different. It is very hard to explain. I have taught choir classes before and this felt different before the singing even began. After the introductions we jumped right into learning the song "Hall of Fame". After I sung the verse I told them it was their turn, and the unimaginable happened. They began to sing like they had been doing this all their lives. They could even harmonize, which is something that takes time to learn. Teachers passing in the hall had to stop at the door and peak in to see if what they heard was coming from these boys. Something was happening and I could feel it.

For our first performance we were invited to sing at The City wide Youth Summit: Survey of the African American Male. I really love writing music and decided to write songs for the choir to sing at this event. The boys loved the song and really connected with the message which was about stopping violence. I figured they would be nervous for their first ever performance but once again I was shocked. They did an amazing job and received a standing ovation from a sanctuary full of teenage young men. After that even the pastor and coordinator of the event came up to me to say how much they loved the performance. They asked if I had recorded the song. I told them I hadn't and didn't really consider it. He told me that I definitely should record the boys singing that. He said the entire city needs to be singing that song. I thanked him and threw that idea to the side.

Things were looking good for the choir and I was excited about the rest of the year. But something happened that we feared from the very beginning of the year.