We are all aware that Wabash is a school distinct in its ways and unifying to all who attend, or have attended, by means of its unique traditions. Yesterday was Chapel Sing, one of said traditions. It was definitely an experience I will remember in detail.
Dressed in my white tee and blue jeans, I met in front of Baxter with my pledge class and the brothers who wished us luck and demanded we do nothing short of greatness. Before everything began, while people were moving around, trying to secure their view for the show about to begin, I stood and stared, removing myself from the environment. Deep breaths and relaxing thoughts. I remember staring at the bricks of the chapel, letting all around me fade into the background in the solitude of my mind, detaching myself and focusing on my emotional/cognitive state. We lined up (I formed the caboose of my pledge class) and marched to the arena, under the ropes, and into formation.
After a quick address from the Sphinx Club president, that chromatic triplet run of, “duh-duh-duh duh-duh-duh duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh duh-duh-duh duh,” which to Wabash men symbolizes the beginning of an aural legacy, was heard and the singing began. At first, the taunting seemed rather tame, very calm and not nearly as bad as what I was subjected to in preparation for the event. Then they got in my face.
I now know what people mean when they say that those 45 minutes fly by, they really do. The first 2 or 3 times I was berated with shouts to the face and degraded with insults of my hair, singing voice, etc., I went by unscathed. However, the next time I wasn’t so lucky. In my memory, I do not remember which line I may have messed up to provoke that Sphinx Club member to pull out his red card, but apparently it happened, and I was told to head into the chapel.
As instructed, I continued to sing all the way in and until I was told to stop and brought to a lonely aisle amidst the pews. As instructed, I began singing Old Wabash from the second verse, not aiming for volume or spirit, but focused on word accuracy. A hand went up when I had sung through the song in its entirety and, as instructed, I stopped and waited in what seemed to be minutes of silence for the verdict. After the suspension, I repeated the second verse, as instructed, (my voice naturally vibrato’d this whole time by the shaking of my nervousness) and again paused. This is when I heard the horrible news.
The line was “Forever more as in days of yore, their deeds be noble and grand”. Apparently, what I said was something along the lines of, “Forever morazzin days of yore, their deeds be noble and grand”. This little slur was enough. This little slur is what did it. Despair. Anguish. Desolation. I was lead to the doors of the chapel where in red spray paint, an uppercase “W” was branded dishonorably upon my chest. I headed back to my spot in the formation, feeling like nothing more than a disappointment, a failure to my pledge brothers and to the fraternity. I had dishonored my famiry. For the remainder of the event I stood solitarily, wishing I didn’t exist, waiting for the command to stop singing, wanting nothing more than to simply crawl into a ditch and sleep through the coming days.
I was the only one in my pledge class to receive a “W” yesterday. We didn’t win, we didn’t even place, and whether or not that has more to do with my mistake than campus politics is an issue that many would like to voice their opinion about; I am not one of those people. What happened happened, and it happens to a lot of freshmen. I’m glad to say that most of the guys in the house have been very cool about it and offer to me nothing but their comfort (I don’t have to shave a “W” into my head, so there’s that) and I know it is not that big of a deal—I just expected more from myself.
Anyhow, that was my Chapel Sing experience. Honestly, I am just glad it is finally over. No more copying down lyrics or shouting at the top of my lungs over and over again, that is all in the past. Now that Chapel Sing is finally done with, it is time to put the finishing touches on the float and banner and practice the chant—this week isn’t over yet.