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November 13, 2006: The deep end

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I have, throughout most of my adult life, sung primarily as a tenor. Occasionally I am recruited as a soprano in times of dire emergency in choir (like a distinct lack of any other female singers at the time), but most of the time, I am just one of the men. And that's really quite okay with me. I like singing tenor, and I've gotten pretty good over the years at modulating my voice to blend in so I sound as much as possible like just one of the guys. But every once in a while I think that maybe, just maybe, it might be fun in choir to get to be, well, a woman.

A few months ago, the director called to ask me if I'd be interested in being part of a women's ensemble that he directs in Sacramento, since they were in need of someone who can sing the low alto parts and as a female tenor, that would be right in my range. Unfortunately, the upcoming concert was the same weekend we were already scheduled to fly up to Seattle, so I had to regretfully decline. And I didn't think much more about it until a few weeks ago, when he called to see if I was still interested. After I pondered it for a little bit, especially the part where I would actually be able to sing like a woman instead of like a man, I decided to give it a try.

Ever since then, there have been more than a few times when I second-guess my decision to do this. I am not used to singing as high as some of the parts require me to sing, and relearning how to swap between low voice and high voice has been a bit rough at times. I am also one of the least talented singers in the group, since I lack the professional background or vocal training most of the others have, and sometimes I feel as if I am more than a little out of my depth. It is one thing to be part of a church choir, performing in front of people who will love whatever you do, no matter what happens, because they are your extended family. It is another to be part of something like this.

But I am getting there, slowly. The music is coming to me, bit by bit, even the parts that frustrate me the most, and I have surprised myself by being able to somehow make it up to those notes that can be up to two octaves higher than I am used to reaching (although if I am ever required to actually *hold* one of those notes more than a beat or two, panic may ensue). I am slowly figuring out how to modulate between the lows and the highs without straining my voice, and even though the thought of the concert we'll be performing in far too few weeks still fills me with no small amount of nervousness, I am still glad that I was asked to be a part of this.

Tonight was my third rehearsal with the group, and as usual, we ended late. But we only end late because most of the time no one is paying any attention to a clock, because we are so focused on getting through the music and nailing those notes that continue to elude us. The music is challenging - sometimes extremely so - but it is refreshing to be so challenged. I had almost forgotten how much fun singing can be.

This is a NaBloPoMo entry

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