It was ten minutes after the last performance of the night and the members of NHS’s New Dimension stood with sore feet, sweaty bodies pressed together, ears straining for an answer to the prayers of students who have thrown themselves into months upon months of grueling work. The judges test their mics, the names that escape their lips all blurring together, creating a dull haze of sound as Gabby Brolsma sits amongst her fellow singers. Then, suddenly, those around her are screaming, grabbing onto her, urging her forward.
When Brolsma, the NHS senior, received the award of Best Performer at Franklin Community, she was the last of the choir students to register the success. Brolsma has dedicated her life to the stage since fourth grade, earning two solo awards in this current show choir season. Despite the images of metals and trophies her success might bring to mind make many think, a vocalist’s path is anything but easy and many aspects of it can often end up overlooked by the audience. But Brolsma says she wouldn’t have it any other way…
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN SHOW CHOIR?
“My older sister was actually in show choir before me, and I actually wanted to be nothing like her. I wanted to be a band kid, so I signed up for band, but my mom made me go into choir and I actually ended up loving it, and then decided to pursue show choir through that.”
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN NHS’S VARSITY WOMEN’S SHOW CHOIR, NEW DIMENSION?
“I think because sophomore year was so strong, I was so confident in who we were, who New Dimension was as a strong group of women that all just loved and cared for each other. […] And there’s something about doing a set where you can feel confident in yourself, there’s just something about performing that.”
WHAT MENTORS HAVE MADE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC?
“I would say one person was my elementary school music teacher, which was the lovely [Janene] Krent. She is just so amazing and she was a really big mentor of mine. Actually, I saw her at a wedding right before show choir auditions were due for 7th grade, and I told her I didn’t think I was gonna do it because I just didn’t know about choir and […] my mom hadn’t forced me yet. She was like, ‘Gabby you need to do this. You have such a talent for music, you need to jump in,’ and I ended up taking her advice and going for it, and look where I am now.”
WHAT EXTRA THINGS DO YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR A SOLO?
“I don’t really practice much outside for fear of hurting my voice, so if I do, I will probably only practice it like once or twice, and then have a nice hot cup of honey lemon tea after. I’ve been drinking a lot of water, I cut out coffee and dairy a week before a performance. I try not to talk or anything and [NHS assistant choir director Shannan]. Masten will tell me not to sing during class if we have a performance the next day, and stuff like that. It’s a lot, but it’s fun too.”
WHICH AWARD ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
“That’s really hard because at Showfest, it was just so unexpected and good, and I got to stand up there with [NHS New Dimension seniors] Jada [Propst] and Callie [Mitchell] and after I got best performer, I was already standing up there, and it was just really cool to get that because I didn’t know if I was gonna get it at all during the season. So that was a really special moment where I was like, ‘This might be my only time,’ it was just great. This last comp, Warren Central, at finals I was like, ‘I’m gonna go up there and do whatever I need to do.’ […] [Then] the Singers kids went nuts and I was like, ‘That is staying forever and always.’”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR YOUR FUTURE AS A PERFORMER?
“I don’t really know. That part of my life is kind of a blurry mess. For one, I’m a theater kid, so always and forever my biggest dream will be being on Broadway, but we all know that’s not a realistic dream to have and that’s just like a fantasy. I am planning on going into the Disney college program, so it depends on whether I’m feeling confident enough to audition because those audition processes for Disney performers are grueling and hard work… So I don’t know, it just depends on what I feel when I get there. But, I would love to keep singing.”
Despite whatever the future may hold, those within the choir room have certainly felt Brolsma’s impact.
“I think [through] seeing her in the musical and in choir, especially with her auditioning and getting the biggest solo in our set, [I’ve seen her] grow as a performer through that,” Masten said. “I’ve also seen her grow a lot as a person and as a leader in the choir this year whenever we’ve had our bumps in the road.”
Her directors recognize that Brolsma’s personal growth has made a significant contribution to New Dimension as a whole, further fostering a positive environment for her fellow performers.
“She’s been one of the seniors pushing everyone to do their best and be positive,” Masten said. “She’s just kind of like a ray of sunshine in our choir [that] I think that every choir can use.”