Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Making a Joyful Noise
I have mentioned here before that I am smitten with Gareth Malone, the choir master and presenter of the BBC series "The Choir" which BBC America has started airing here in the US this summer. Apparently, I am not alone. He's a charming fellow, that Gareth. He's determined to get real people -- kids in school, communities -- singing together, and he speaks energetically and inspiringly about the important positive effects of sharing music. (I can't recommend these shows highly enough -- they are, I think, the most uplifting things I've ever seen on TV.)
I've been thinking about how I used to love Glee Club back in middle school -- which was the last time I sung in a group, aside from Christmas caroling parties over the years. I really did love it -- especially the feeling of adding my thin little voice in with a bunch of others to create a really beautiful sound. And that memory got me looking on the web to see if there were any singing groups in my area for rank amateurs for people like me -- and lo and behold, my very town has a community choir!
So, for the last several Monday nights I have trotted off to sing along with a group of 50 or so other adults who find singing fun. It was daunting at first -- I feared an audition, which I would surely fail -- but I was reassured to learn that if I could carry a tune, I'd be in. I spent five minutes alone in a room with the choir leader Betty, who showed me how much better I could sing if I'd just open my mouth widely -- and I found myself hitting notes I didn't know I could hit. So I now know I'm a soprano (la la la!) and I am seated toward the back of the group (by height and I am tall) next to a lovely woman named Paula who has a beautiful clear and strong voice for me to follow.
We are preparing for a set of holiday concerts in December, so I am now singing holiday songs all day long. We've been given CDs with our specific parts on them -- which makes practicing quite easy, really, and I'm finding it especially nice for driving around in the car. Yep, that's me going by, singing with my mouth wide open but the windows closed so my shrieks don't alarm others AND the bugs don't fly in!
I have no illusions about being a great singer -- but I am having fun and I come away from each practice feeling very happy and energized. Thank you, Gareth!
Oh -- and if you don't get the Choir, here's a video of Gareth leading a group of boys (very, very reluctant choir members at the outset of the series). Watch this and see if it doesn't make you happy!