From the Back SeatThe Boys Side of the "When God is Driving" Story
By: Members of The Royal Boys Choir
Part 1- The Introduction
It's the beginning of my 6th grade year, and I am not too excited about it. I was at a great catholic school but the tuition was taking a toll on our family so now I must go to a new school. My mom assumed Miller McCoy was a decent school because it was an all boys school where the boys wore Blazers and ties. It looked like a school dedicated to the advancement of urban young men. I was thinking how bad could it be. Well I was definitely about to find out.
The school was so chaotic. Many of the boys were so disrespectful and had no desire to become better. I couldn't believe how many fights happened a day. It was terrible. Teachers were constantly yelling trying to get students under control, boys would stampede through the hall just to cause confusion, and teachers were quitting by the second week of school. How was I supposed to make it through this year with all this madness?
I decided to join band in hopes to find something enjoyable at this school, and I actually enjoyed it. I was always complimented by the band teacher on how disciplined I was. This year may not be too bad after all. In band practice after school there was this teacher. Most of the time he would sit there quiet just observing. He didn't smile much. I found out he was the choir teacher. He didn't seem to fit in here, kinda like I didn't. I didn't have much interaction with him and figured I never would. Boy was I wrong.
Why am I at this school? This place is horrible. I left one bad school only to come to another. It was only the first week and I was angry. I really don't like being picked on or bullied, but that is what was happening. My fifth grade class had to walk through the high school trailer because that's where the choir class was. Before I can get to the class a high schooler pushes me down in the hall. I am angry with tears in my eyes as I begin to charge at him. Another high schooler grabs me and tells me to chill before I get hurt. I was too heated to hear what he had to say. Mr. V stepped out the choir room, put his hand on my shoulder and said "That's enough." He didn't understand why I was so upset, and when I tried to explain he told me to have a seat.
As we began to sing, I calmed down. I think Mr. V knew I would. This was my favorite class. Really the only class I liked. It was my last class of the day which meant most of the time I showed up mad. Mr. V was really patient with me. Not many people were.
As things grew worse at the school, I began to have my own problems. One of my classmates picked a fight with me and I was not about to be pushed around. So I had a fight but I didn't like feeling like I was becoming one of them. I was on my way to band class when I was stopped at the door. One of the band captains told me I could not come in unless I told him why I had a fight. He was talking to me like I was one of the bad kids. I was not in the mood to explain anything to him. So I tried to walk pass him but he blocked me. Next thing I knew I was on my way to the office to switch my schedule. I was hoping for PE but was switched to choir, Mr. Varnado.
I walked up to Mr. V's class as he stood by the door. He looked at me funny and then said "Go to band." I told him I had switched my schedule but he didn't believe me, so I had to pull it out to show him. When I walked in it already felt different. Everyone was sitting and quiet. He began playing scales on the piano and they all started singing. Why in the world was this class so much different from the rest of the school? I would later find out.
(From Mr. Varnado: About a week before Ju’Elz came to my class, I was sitting in the band room waiting for the students to settle in. Ju’Elz came and sat on the front row with his trumpet ready to play. When I looked at him, I heard a voice so clearly say, “He’s going to be in your choir. It was the strangest thing ever. I tried to ignore it. Just so happens a few minutes after that, the band teacher praised Ju’Elz for his discipline and determination. I was thinking there was no way he would leave this band. But here we were a week later and he is walking up to my class. I know I had a crazy look on my face because this sort of scared me.)
We had been in choir class for a few weeks and things were going well. Mr. V had a system to track behavior and participation, and I was always at the top every week. He would give candy to the students on top. Not saying that was why I behaved but it had a little something to do with it. I wasn't too outspoken and didn't think choir was my thing, but for some reason this felt comfortable. We were getting ready for our first performance and Mr. V was looking for a soloist to end the song out. I don't know what made me tryout but I did. After I sang Mr. V did this little side smirk and moved on to the next student. After each student went he didn't waste any time and said "Matthew, you are doing the solo." I always suffered with my speech, but here I was, about to sing the first solo for this choir.