I’ve been singing alone for years. After years of singing under the abuse of a temperamental choir director, I sang alone gladly. No angry reproaches were directed at my self-esteem when I sang the wrong words in the shower. No music stands were lobbed at my head when I sang an incorrect note in my car. I was able to sing alone and I did it very well.
Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up. Pearl Buck (1892 – 1973)
Singing a cappella is scary to some. There is no accompaniment to find your notes. There are no other voices to hold the note if you need to breathe. It’s just you and your voice. Every note must be perfect because that’s all they’re going to hear. Every song must be interesting and compact, because that’s all they’re going to hear.
Singing a cappella holds no fear for me. There is no accompaniment to prove that I’m off key. There are no other voices to sing the correct words and show the world that I sang the wrong ones. Every note is my own. Every song is for me alone, because I’m all they’re going to hear. Most importantly, there were no music stands directed at my head.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself. Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892), Song of Myself, 1855
Still, I was called. I don’t believe in a higher power, but I was asked to sing in the choir by the choir director. I had made a pact with a friend that we would both join when the summer ended. Even though she is in another state now, I still joined. It was partly in memory of her and partly because it had been so long since I had sung with other voices.
I’m not choosing the music, so sometimes I have to work my range to its fullest. I’m not choosing the lyrics, so sometimes I have to sing words that are uncomfortable to me. I’m not choosing the meeting times, so sometimes I’m tired and not eager to sing. All of these are ways for me to grow, where I have stayed stagnant for years. I didn’t even know that I was stagnating before I joined.
Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious. Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC), Eclogues
After two months of practices and three performances, I haven’t seen one music stand fly in anger. The choir director is patient and loving. I’ve never worked under a patient leader before. I still worry about perfection, but that is my personal demon that has surfaced in more creative areas than just music. Our next performance is Sunday, October 26th at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society. Feel free to see how much I’ve grown if you’re in the area.