Saturday, October 18, 2014

Joyful Noise

Today we’re headed downtown for a concert, and I can’t wait. It’s going to be performed by the Pennsylvania Girlchoir (Ya-Jhu is pianist, my goddaughter Abbey is one of the singers). One of the pieces, “When I Am Woman” was written by the very talented composer Andrea Clearfield. Andrea has a special place in my heart because she was so encouraging to Sheridan when he was younger (his pieces were performed at her monthly Salon quite a few times when he was in his late teens).  Looking forward to a great musical experience!

When Rose was a young teenager, she sang with the Temple University Children’s Choir. Again, I always loved attending their concerts, because the songs were beautifully written and performed.  There’s something about good vocal music that really speaks to me. Every week I look forward to hearing our church choir sing, and I am aware of how lucky our congregation is to have such a terrific group. I also love going to the opera, infrequent as these opportunities are.  Last December, Sher and Yaj gave us, as a Christmas gift, tickets to The Magic Flute at the Met in NYC. Delightful.

So with this background of intense music appreciation, why don’t I like to sing?

Part of it surely is my lack of training. I can only take a stab at reading music (and the wound is usually fatal). I have zero breath control, too; by the end of the first verse of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” on a Sunday morning, I am panting as if I’ve just run a 5K. The other, honestly, is intimidation. I am surrounded at home by so many solid musicians that I really hesitate to open my mouth. Indeed, the only times I remember being comfortable crooning were when I sang silly made-up songs to my babies (“PJ Sparkles” and “Julie Boolie” were big hits). 

The kids have been very sweet at their last few Christmas concerts, and given me small singing parts. Luckily, teamed up with them, my shaky warbling faded into the background for the most part. I am already stressing about Holiday Concert 2014, and think I would be rather relieved if I just sat in the audience instead.

I believe it’s a mind-over-matter thing with me, this vocal phobia, and I’m determined to conquer it.  Who cares if I don’t sound fabulous? At least I have decent pitch (or so I’ve been told) so my solos have never been complete train wrecks. So what if Rose brought down the house in 7th grade singing “Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime, while I didn’t even make the cut at the 1973 St. Pius High Talent Show (remember “Killing Me Softly”? My killing, alas, was not so soft). I need to lighten up! I too can make a joyful noise!

There’s a wonderful children’s song that says “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir.” I need to remember that, and let this critter take her place.

"All God's Critters"

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