Tuesday, November 15, 2011

choral ups and downs

This is what's running through my head tonight: "da, da, dl, la, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da...." Over and over again.

I guess that's what being in a choir will do for you. Our end of year concert is in a mere week and a half and we are working like crazy to finalise the last few pieces, one of which is 'Africa' by Toto. This is the version we are doing. Crazy hey! But I nearly have it nailed. (This version is my favourite. Those harmonies are divine in that run of da da das!)

It's been an interesting journey joining a choir. One of the things I have missed about attending church is singing, so I applied to Vox Harmony at the end of last year. At first I was told there was no space for more sopranos. Then there was space, and I had two weeks to see if I liked it or not. So I walked in on an incredibly warm and friendly bunch of people, thinking I'd be fine because, hey, I've sung in church. With a microphone. I must be good, right?

This whole year has been a lesson in how rubbish most church singers are. Or perhaps I should stick with the personal and say how rubbish this church singer was?! Yes, I can sing and my voice sounds nice enough, but vocal range? Forget it! Most modern church songs consist of about five notes over and over again. (If you don't believe me, check out Chris Tomlin. He used to be a fave but now I can barely listen to his CDs) It turns out my vocal range was pretty lame.

Then there's the whole 'sliding' thing. If you can't hit your note straight out, or you're not confident, just slide up to it. The added bonus is you sound really cool when you do this, like you're a professional. I've been to a couple of church services recently, and after having the sliding drummed out of me at choir all year, I've discovered it's pretty rare for anyone in church to hit a note straight.

So I went from thinking I was a slightly rusty but pretty good singer, to moaning each week about how I couldn't sing at all with my self esteem literally in the mud. And then I visited a couple of churches and sniffed at their pale attempts at singing and realised I was a better singer than all of them after all. We're humble at happy chatter, constantly engaging in one up-man-ship as we do.

I guess it was half way through the year when things really began to turn. I started to feel comfortable with the music and learn the pieces and trust my voice again. My vocal range grew by half an octave and counting, and I even managed to co-ordinate myself enough to sing and dance at the same time. I felt so good I offered my services for a solo... with the proviso that if people thought I was rubbish they should tell me and I'd slink off into the back of the stalls.

It turns out I do sing OK after all. Not amazingly, but I can manage a shared solo (we both sing the same part for moral support) and I even hit the last note most of the time. People have been most encouraging and positive.

So it's one and a half weeks of crazy practice, Christmas carols until they come out of my ears, and then the year is done. I will have survived my first year in a choir. How cool is that?!


At 11:09 pm, November 15, 2011, Anonymous 2paw said...

I loved being in all the choirs when I was at school, I was in them all!! I am glad you are feeling the whole choral experience is a positive one now. Now I have Africa's dum de dum de dum dum dum duuums as an ear worm!!


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