"Competition? Nahh.... ", "Probably in the next few years...", "We are still too young to compete" . I have forgotten how many times I have heard phrases like this since we started this journey named Haraya.
When Haraya was announced as the winner of MACC (Manchester Amateur Choral Competition) last night, seeing the smiles and laughter off the faces of my screaming choirmates, it has brought me back to the beginning, when things were slightly different. :)
At the time of writing, I thought to myself-- Isn't this a bit early for a trip down the memory lane? But then we took a step and set ourselves a milestone in this journey, so why not?
The Haraya story is a story of belief, trust and hardwork. When we first started, Haraya was a collection of passionate singers who excelled here and there. Almost all of us cannot read music. Many have not sung in a proper concert, and some have no experience in choral music at all. It is cliché to say music is a powerful thing, but it is exactly that, in its purest form that has bound us together and Haraya was born.
Early days were a challenge, learning songs a struggle. Frustration rose here and there, it was an uphill battle. But dreamer-in-chief Karlene, our choirmaster kept believing, pushing, fighting. She kept us bound in a vision and believing in this mission. We can see it wasn't easy for her, but she had faith in us where there was no proof we can achieve. Through this, we grew as a group. I grew as a person under her banner. We then marched on and on and on. Along the way, this love for the art and the law of attraction worked wonders in bringing in like minded dreamers into our ranks which made the job a little easier. Under the patience of our choirmaster and in that journey, we started to realise that to express emotions, and art through music, we needed discipline, dedication, commitment and hard work.
Those things we tried to put into Haraya. And those are what brought us here, our first competition over the leap year weekend at RNCM. We took a leap. We wanted to learn, to express, to communicate our message through music.
When judge Mattis commented on our performance, where she hit on so many of the things we wanted to achieve during rehearsals. I couldn't contain a tear or two, not because of the standing ovations, but because we expressed, we communicated, we broke language barriers, we found a connection in music. But alas, we were rewarded for doing that too when we were announced winner of MACC 2020. It sounded surreal, but Haraya has grown.
This is only the beginning. While it is still not an easy task to get everything in place, what happened was: what we did, we improved. Every little step and stumble along the way have made us into who we are. Did doubtful thoughts ever cross my mind? Certainly! But each dreamer is entitled to believe. Each Haraya member trusts in our choirmaster's lead as we strive to work hard and hopefully continue to achieve through music and singing, breaking down barriers and walls, and help connect us human beings.
Here's to more dreams and more milestones.