Kattrina is in the center in the above photo.
When I was asked to write about my achievements, as well as, what my time at BCC meant to me, believe it or not, I was at a loss for words. To say that The Boston Children's Chorus simply "shaped me" would be an understatement. I look back on my many years at BCC with fondness. My time spent there is now nothing but tear-filled memories. The memories of singing in different languages, traveling to different countries, to meeting amazingly talented musicians, and making friends, and even the sad memories of saying goodbye to many of them during that time. Although the memories are bittersweet, I have every reason to be thankful to BCC for what it has done for me. The Boston Children's Chorus did more than just help me musically; it also helped me mentally and professionally.
Kattrina at MLK
Fast forward to the present day. This past May, I proudly became a part of the Saint John's University class of 2016 graduates. I graduated with a double Major in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I am currently working in the field of Psychology at APEX Behavioral Consulting in Boston, MA. I plan to go back to school in the upcoming 2017 Fall season. I am going back to school to get my Master's in Forensic Psychology/Criminology, which is a combination of both my Majors. As to where I still have not decided yet, but I am keeping my options open.
Throughout my years in undergrad, I participated in and joined many clubs that promoted social change for different groups and communities. I was a part of Haraya, Caribbean Students Association, Campus Music Ministry, The Catholic Student Community, Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society), Social Psychology, and Earth Club, Criminal Justice Association, and Habitat for Humanity, as well as, many others. I was a very active student on campus. It was not until my Junior year at Saint John's that I had to slow down on my participation since I started several internships, and began my soon-to-be lifelong project of research.
If not for The Boston Children's Chorus, I would have never left Massachusetts, to be honest. I am very close with my family and to think of being away from them even for a weekend seemed unbearable. However, all of the traveling to the different countries and states within America made me realize that there was so much more to be explored. Places right in front of me, places I would never think to explore. As an active church goer, I was also active in my community. When persuaded by my parents to join BCC, I was still able to reach out to my community, only this time through song. To see the smiling faces of children and parent alike really touched my heart.
Music has and always will be my passion. So much so that during one of my internships with Queens Hospital in Jamaica, NY, I made it my mission to help the children there through music, as BCC had once done for me and still does to this day. The Queens Hospital and the local Clinic have teamed up with Saint John's University's Voices of Victory and Chaple Players Theater Group to start a program for students with a passion for music and a love for children with impaired social skills to work together. The mission of the program is to enhance the quality of life for children and families through the expression of song and dance.
There are many things I took away from my time at The Boston Children's Chorus. There is one memory in particular that I will keep with me always, and for that, I owe thanks to BCC. I remember the first time I had to perform for the Boston Tree lighting. I was around 11 or 12 years old and scared out of my mind. The only thing that separated me from my big moment on that stage and the fear of failure was a large set of steep metal stairs.
My fear ran deep within my bones. There was the fear of the stairs, of embarrassment and my lack of confidence. I remember hearing, "You've got to move forward, if we stay here we'll miss our chance. I'll help you, but you have to take the first step." Those encouraging words came from a fellow chorus member, may be younger than I at the time. Little did he know how much he helped me. When faced with tough times, I make a mental note of that day. The day I faced my fears, and gained a little confidence, and took the first step of putting the fear of stairs and embarrassment behind me.
2011 England and Scotland Tour 2012 Martha's Vineyard Tour
BCC inspired me to do more than just acknowledge different cultures, communities, and people. It also taught us to experience, accept and embrace everything that comes with it, even the things we do not understand. To be socially aware and to be ambassadors of harmony.
I took this from BCC and ran with it. I decided to become a Psychologist to help people have peace of mind. Someone once told me, "to have peace of mind is to have peace of heart and soul." For me, music helps me be tranquil, and serene. It allows me to express, lose, and find myself with a simple melody or lyric.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert that is showcased every year on MLK's birthday at Jordan Hall demonstrates what having a voice means. To stand up for your cause and make a difference no matter how small or large. It was this event that highlighted the Legacy of MLK's work that later influenced me to study Criminal Justice in college. I wanted to help provide a voice for those who never knew they had one. I wanted to protect those who sought it and needed it, and one day I will. I'm going to pursue my Master's in Forensic Psychology/Criminology, and I will make a difference in my communities. As BCC has taught me since I was 11 years old!