If you asked me three years ago, “Diana, where do you see yourself in three years?”, one of the last places I would have said was Boston. Up until October of last year, I had not stepped foot in Massachusetts or anywhere north of New York City. I visited just before the first snow, when the leaves were changing and everyone was in a good mood.
My best friend since high school had recently moved to Somerville, so we decided to have a best friend reunion weekend. We gallivanted through Boston, downtown, the north end, Cambridge, Somerville, etc all weekend. Sunday morning a group of us went out to brunch and I remember clear as day, the first description of something called BOSS. It was its first stage of inception, but I already felt I drawn to it. I expressed my interest in contributing, but seeing as I lived in Florida, it didn’t seem plausible. Oh yeah, I lived in Florida. At the end of my 4 day trip, leaving felt so unnatural. As cliché as it sounds, part of me had fallen in love with Boston and I didn’t want to leave.
Just a week and a half later I went to SoJam for the first time since 2008 and volunteered the entire weekend. I got a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes and truthfully speaking, though stressful at times, I was fascinated by the whole thing. A few weeks after leaving North Carolina, I found myself shooting out of bed at 4:30am saying to myself, “I have to go to LAAF“. I bought my plane ticket on a whim and just two months later, found myself on the other side of the country. I volunteered at LAAF, met some incredible people, reconnected with old friends, heard some amazing a cappella, and found myself even more enthralled with the festival scene.
Back in Florida, I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t at home, like something was missing, like I needed a change. Every time I leave a place I make a connection with, I feel as if I leave a part of myself. I started wondering, “Where am I supposed to be? Where will I feel at home? Where have I felt most alive?”. The answer hasn’t come to me, but just a few weeks into February, still buzzed off the LAAF high, I bought my plane ticket to BOSS and shortly thereafter I was there.
I arrived on a Thursday night to a house filled with Boston natives and transplants. The air was abuzz with excitement about BOSS, the first ever live CARA Award ceremony, and everything in between. Just like the past two festivals, I decided to volunteer in Boston as well. I did everything from set up and tear down to driving around and picking things up.
Every moment I spent in Boston I felt as if I was the happiest person on earth. Not only was I surrounded by some of the most incredible people in the a cappella world, I was in one of the most beautiful, fun, and historical cities I’d ever been in.
BOSS was unlike any festival I’d been to. From the collegiate competition and its structure, to the workshops and out-of-this-world performances, I found it to be nothing short of magical. What truly struck me was despite it being a brand new festival, it was put together so well; it felt like it had been around for years. I was truly inspired by the collegiate groups that competed, respected and admired a new musical and aesthetic perspective I was submersed in, and knew this was something I needed to be a part of on a regular basis. Upon leaving BOSS, I left with a heavy heart. This particular festival weekend changed my life and came to the striking realization that would’ve frightened anyone in their right mind– I needed to move to Boston.
In July, I packed up my tiny little life (I’m 4’10”) and shoved it all into my Honda Civic (I told you it was small). I endured a month at home in South Florida, and finally drove through ten states over the course of three days. Since September, I’ve been nestled in Somerville making coffee in Cambridge, arranging for & directing a co-ed collegiate group in Boston, mentoring a cappella groups in the Greater Boston area/Rhode Island as CASA Ambassador, and reaching out to a cappella groups in the Northeast in hopes that they’ll come to BOSS this year.
2011-2012 was a year filled with personal and musical challenges, a year of growth, of loss, and of newfound & rekindled relationships. I took a chance, I made a move (1500 miles is quite the move), and I ended in Boston. Everyone has wings but they have to find the courage to fly. BOSS just so happened to be the wind beneath my wings 😉
Diana Galeano is the BOSS Outreach Director