Friday, December 17, 2010
The Sound of Music
My first season singing with the Healdsburg Chorus has just come to an end, and I have been thinking about how to sum up this amazing experience. And it has been a delightful experience, in ways that have nothing to do with the actual singing.
* I set out looking for a community chorus after being so inspired by watching Gareth Malone's "The Choir" on BBC America. I don't think I've even done anything because of a reality tv show (which is a good thing, don't you think?) but this turned out to be a wonderful inspiration.
* I originally thought it would be something R and I could do together, seeing how R has a wonderful voice and used to sing in coffee houses for actual money. But he wasn't up for group singing and I went ahead anyway. Something that started out as being for him turned out to be an amazing gift to myself. Marriage is funny that way.
* I'm not a great singer, and I certainly don't have the "performer" urge. But standing among a group of other people and adding my little voice to theirs seemed do-able. This has been a great lesson in how doing my own little part along with others doing their parts adds up to something BIG and wonderful.
* On the first day of chorus, the director sat me down next to Paula, and we started talking and we felt like we have known each other all of our lives. Her husband Jim is just as easy and great to talk to. I have another very great friend whose acquaintance I owe to some random person sitting me next to her at a quilt guild meeting -- so maybe there is a cosmic thing about being put next to the people you are meant to know. How wonderful to make a new friend when I least expected it!
* It's impossible to be cranky when you're singing. There were evenings when I wasn't in the mood to leave the house after dinner for practice, but once I got there and started singing, I felt wonderful and was so happy to be there. One fellow theorized that the vibration through your body does some adrenaline thing. Who knows -- but I'm thinking that maybe singing along to the radio or a cd is a good way to keep pushing through those chores.
* Putting a bunch of women, most of whom are over 40, into skirts and blouses and requiring them to TUCK IN THEIR BLOUSES is an instant bonding experience, because they will all hate having to tuck in their blouses. Not a good look for women in a certain age category with certain midriff issues. I won't even mention bonding issue #2, the collar ruffle thingies we were all required to wear. (See picture above. I rest my case.)
* I didn't know anything about singing. I still know very, very little. But hey, an old(ish) dog can learn some new tricks! I have learned that I can sing better and higher if I open my mouth wider. And I'm learning how to breathe properly. And how warming up makes a difference. The feeling of being way out of my comfort zone has been balanced by the fun of learning something totally new.
* It is really, really satisfying to watch the audience as you sing and see eager, accepting smiles on their faces, or tears in their eyes, or feet tapping along. And best is that moment when we'd finish a really beautiful song and there would be this momentary hush, then an audible sigh of satisfaction, before the applause started. Wow. I can see how performers get addicted to that response.
So, all in all, it has been terrific. I'm signing on for the spring season, and am already eager to see what we'll be singing. Who knew I'd like this so much?!
Singing really is an uplifting thing. So while you're rushing about doing your holiday chores, SING! Jingle Bells! Hark the Herald Angels Sing! Mele Kalikimaka!
My advice for 2011? Try something really new. You'll never know where it might take you.