Senior year is the best year.
It’s full of so many last moments that will be remembered for a lifetime. There’s the last game, the last prom, the last prank, the last class and the last day. Thousands of Class of 2020 seniors might not get those last moments.
Howard High School’s Hilary Albrecht is among the thousands of seniors whose final year is currently hanging in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic. An all-state basketball player, Albrecht found a way to impact thousands of people not on the court, but instead with her music.
“Music has been a really big part of my life,” Albrecht said. “I listened to songs and I can just kind of relate to them. I was thinking, ‘What can I do to kind of help people?’ I can’t go comfort them. I can’t cure the coronavirus, but I can kind of give them something to relate to.”
Emotions and words about her senior year filled her head one night. Three hours later, “Hardest Goodbye,” was born and the 5 1/2 minute song has amassed more than 20,000 views on Facebook. She performs the song with an acoustic guitar and sings the vocals.
“I definitely didn’t expect it to blow up this much,” Albrecht said. “But I am glad it did. The comments have been great. They have been so supportive, nice and people that I don’t even know commenting they have been in tears listening to it. That just gives me chills.”
Albrecht’s song does the same thing. She beautifully sings about prom, graduation day, the memories made since freshman year and how she wants it all back.
She didn’t anticipate the song being so long, but the words and emotions took over. She wanted the chorus to be impactful and that’s her favorite part of the song:
It just all feels so undone
Take me back to day one
It just hurts and I will always ask why
Because this is my hardest goodbye
My hardest goodbye
My hardest goodbye
“There have been so many things, like with the state tournament, possibly not getting prom and just things that it feels like it’s undone,” Albrecht said. “It feels like summer right now. It doesn’t feel like the school year still.”
Albrecht and the Tigers were in Spearfish during the Class B state tournament when they received news about the pandemic. They drove up to the arena when coach Wade Erickson got the call the tournament had been suspended.
“Tears just started rolling,” Albrecht said. “You expect two more games and then just to have it taken away … it’s just hard. It’s not what anyone was expecting.”
Albrecht will attend Dordt College in the fall and will play basketball for the Defenders. She plans on majoring in pre-law, but music will still be her escape from life.
She’s never recorded or posted a song to Facebook like “Hardest Goodbye,” but she’s given thousands of seniors one last song to which they can relate.
“Totally mixed emotions writing the words down,” she said, describing how she made the music. “It was kind of hard because it just made me think about it more. But it was fun. I love music, so it was kind of fun to have it all come together in the end.”