Gabi's Song | Gagen MacDonald

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Gabi's Song

Jan 23, 2015
When you’re young, leaders are the ‘grown-ups’, the big wigs who do everything from making you dinner to running the country. Any grown-up seems to be a leader someone you look up to no matter what. Until you get older. As you ‘grow-up,’ suddenly life isn’t nearly as clear-cut. You differentiate types of leadership and begin to recognize in your peers those leadership qualities you admire.My time at Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest has been no exception. Every day I am blessed to walk beside not only leaders of the school clubs, but also the future leaders of our generation. One such person is Gabriela Carrillo—or “Gabi” as we like to call her. Dedicated to her music, Gabi graduated this past June and is enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston for the fall.Since I started attending Woodlands, she has been a constant leadership presence, whether in the theater or choral department, or on our school’s Model UN team. Her passion and talent for the arts set Gabi apart from other students. Senior year, she was chosen to direct Microscope, a student-run acapella group. One of our fellow classmates summed it up nicely: “It was amazing how quickly everyone was able to pick up their parts. It’s different having your friend as the actual director of a music group. But it was not difficult for me to listen and learn from Gabi because her passion and love of music is tangible.”I have not yet had the experience of being part of Microscope, but I hear all the stories. Dynamics change between friends for the moment that they are in rehearsal or during a concert. Watching Gabi direct at our choir competition in New York City, I saw a girl whose best friends were on stage with her, and you would never be able to pick them out from the other girls. They received no extra smiles, no undeserved solos. Everyone in Microscope was equal, starting with a clean slate no matter their relationship with the student director.That isn’t easy. Student directing the fall play, part of me felt that there was some rule that stated it was my duty to give my friends the largest parts. I didn’t in the end, yet I went through the entire process assuming they were angry with me when in fact they weren’t. For Gabi to put aside those relationships is a talent in and of itself.The moment I saw Microscope for the gem it is, was the night before a competition. Two of my roommates are in the ensemble, and returned from their last rehearsal panicked. They were afraid of disappointing Gabi, disappointing a friend. Sure, in the larger ensemble we don’t want to disappoint our director, but there is a profound difference in disappointing an authority figure and a friend. That was Gabi’s true gift; that not only did she remain and grow into a close friend for her entire ensemble, she used those relationships to gain the necessary authority and respect. It’s her leadership that brought out the best in all of us and Berklee is lucky to have her.
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