I haven’t had a singing update in awhile, so I’m excited to share one!
About a month ago, I could feel my voice turning to crap. I’d barely sang in months, and my range was sinking back to my high school days (about 2 notes). I didn’t want to lose the progress I’d made over the years, so I made myself promise me I’d get back into singing. This is how it went:
Me: Hi me, it’s me. Get back into singing!
Me: Ok me.
Me: Thanks. (Kiss)
Consequently, I’ve been checking out the churches here. I guess I could’ve branched into something else – karaoke bars or something – but it felt familiar. And I enjoyed singing at the church in Page.
The first place we went to was the multi-billionaire church. Seriously, the place was super fancy, with golden chariots for seats and personal ushers for everyone. OK that might be a bit of an exagerration, but the place was uber fancy.
The choir was ten times that.
There were like fifty members, all wearing robes, and singing like opera stars. At one point, a woman with HUGE 80s hair went to the microphone for a solo. She looked like a Twisted Sister groupie and I cringed, not sure what to expect.
Her voice sounded like the female Pavarotti (I can’t think of a female opera singer, LOL).
Um, yeah. That was a bit much for me.
The second church, John Vianney, appeared to be more promising. It was smaller and more casual (don’t get me wrong, it was still 10 times bigger than the church in Page). I crossed my fingers as the choir emerged.
There were only five members! And they didn’t wear robes! Yay (it’s hard to show off your biceps in a choir robe)!
When they began singing, I knew this choir was perfect. They were good, but not overwhelming. I didn’t want to join a professional choir. I wanted a Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act choir.
After Mass, I approached the organist and asked her about joining. She was SUPER excited; apparently they are always short on Saturday evening singers. She insisted I come to rehearsal Thursday (this past Thursday).
I agreed and, on Thursday, parked and walked into the church. EEEEEK.
Now this is weird: I was more nervous just going to the rehearsal than singing in front of a church-full of people in Page. My armpits were drenched, LOL!
Here’s the embarrassing deal: because I didn’t have to audition here, no one had heard me sing. Admittedly, I was worried about meeting their expectations. That shouldn’t have mattered, but I hate the idea of being the worst in a group.
Now, instead of going through every single thing that happened at rehearsal and the subsequent Mass, I figured I’d whittle it down into the most memorable moments. Here are your bite-sized chunks:
1. They lump all the services into 1 practice, so singers from all Masses showed up to practice. That added up to a total of about 12 people. Of those twelve, only one male (other than myself) showed up. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve never seen as many guys as girls in a choir. What did surprise me was the eighty year-old woman who came up to me, saying, “Hi, I’m Beverly, and I’m a bass.”
And a bass she was! She sat with me and the other guy and belted out all the same notes we did.
2. I really wanted people to hear me sing so they’d know I wasn’t tone deaf. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the first songs. At all. When the organist started, I tried joining in but ended up mumbling, “Watermelon,” over and over.
Finally, the guy next to me leaned in and started singing really loud. I got the impression he thought I was just self-conscious. He was trying to help me overcome my fear. That wasn’t it at all, and I wanted to make sure he knew that. How, might you ask? Well, I prepped my voice for a song I did know. When it started, I screamed it! I sang so loud, he leaned away from me, LOL.
I consider that my audition.
3. There are certain parts of every Mass that are sung (ones that can be spoken but churches choose to sing). I didn’t know a single one of them. And they didn’t rehearse them so, after practice, I went to the director and said, “Are we running through the Mass parts?”
She was like, “No.”
“So am I coming this Saturday to church to sing?”
“Absolutely!” she said.
I squinted at her, confused. “But I don’t know these pieces at all.”
“Eh, just wing it,” she said.
True story. I was winging music at the real service. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh, that didn’t make me nervous.
4. I went ahead and showed up Saturday. I figured I might as well just jump in the deep end. I admit I was really nervous because, again, I didn’t know half the stuff we were singing.
I felt pretty ridiculous (like a ninny, my Grammy would say) when an older lady walked in and announced, “I’m singing the solos tonight and I haven’t practiced them once.” This was at 4:30, half an hour before church started.
The organist was there and ran through her solo parts a few times. She kept messing them up because, you know, she hadn’t practiced. On her fourth try, she got it right… and didn’t run through it again. She was like, “OK I’m good.” I would have insisted on doing it at least 50 more times!
When she came over and took her seat, I blurted, “Aren’t you nervous singing solos?” Everyone around me heard and said, “No, why should we be?”
I’ve decided I hate those people.