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Monday, December 8, 2008

Angels we have heard on high...


In our quest to help Eldest live well with her bipolar we have been doing several things. One of the things I began doing was forcing Eldest to accompany her crazy old mom to choir. I remember it was a great idea at the time... now I can't recall why LOL!

After her choir concert I asked at church when the choir met and was told "We don't have a choir." I was shocked! Is that even possible? I was disappointed.
A few weeks ago they announced that there would be a choir practice that afternoon.... they didn't say anything else ...it was like, "Well, if you are in the choir you already know this so I'm just reminding you, geeeze." I decide we would go.

In a book I read the main character mentions how far you can get (where you may not exactly have permission to be) with a hat, a box, and a confidant stride. He's right. We walked up to the house the choir was meeting in and walked in. I took off my coat and hat and set them all aside, making it obvious we were here and part of them. Not overbearing, just confidant. No one thought anything about it and welcomed us in. They were thrilled to have more voices, the choir is really small, about 10 people after we joined.

I found out my dyslexia runs in all parts of my functioning.

See, I love music, really do! I want to learn to play many instruments and sing all kinds of styles... but music is like a foreign language to me, and as anyone who remembers my foray into learning french knows, I have no gift with foreign languages; French, Latin, or Music. I was singing with people who had voice training and collage courses in music, actual credentials of professional work! I had sung in the elementary school choir, that was the extent of my resume. On top of that when I had the tumor it changed my voice, at least I still had it. So I had yet to relearn how to sing after that silly lump of blood vessels and stuff was removed and no longer pressing on my vocal cords.

So there we were surrounded by music connoisseur and we were discussing the arrangement for the song we would sing. Eldest was being very quiet and was hiding in her hoodie. I listened as one lady, who has the kind of presence that says, "I know what I am talking about, and I'm right." and watching her kinda bully the others into how she wanted the arrangement done... "Well, IF you listen to the words you will see the part should be quiet and thoughtful. The first 2 should be louder."

I disagreed. I swear I was not trying to start a fight and I don't think she had triggered my defiance thing... but I spoke up ...."Really?" I asked loudly so she couldn't ignore me like she had 2 other ladies, "My dyslexia must be affecting the way I hear the music then. I hear the words of the first two verses as thoughtful and the last as boisterous and joyful! Exulting! We should really belt it out." She just blink, oh my gosh another persons impute and it wasn't the same as hers? The ladies she had ignored smiled and so did a few others and Eldest. Her's was the only suport that matters really.

We worked on the arrangement some more. Guess how we are singing the last verse?
Yup. Boisterous! and acapella. I think she was giving me a musical cut down when she said, looking right at me, "You can really tell if you haven't stayed on key if the piano comes in after an acapella number." But lucky me I have very little music knowledge so it went right over my head.

This last practice we were a little late. Eldest had gone to her friends after church and was trying to talk me into letting her just skip it. To tell the truth I almost gave in. I was in real pain, the idea of curling up in bed was very very appealing, but you know me... stubborn (your fault dad :P). I told her to be ready I would be picking her up in 15 mins and I wanted her ready to walk out the door when I pulled up. I took an alieve and headed out.

She was ready and she had her friend with her. Her friend had gotten excited when she heard Eldest was going to sing so she wanted to join too! That made me kinda happy, Eldest was the youngest one in the choir so I think it will be good for her if she has someone her age to sing with.
When we got there we found the choir had grown. Several more women had joined. We really need more men, I wonder what the chances are that I can get My Love to come sing? Probably about the same as getting me to pet a camel spider.

There were a few younger girls, low 20's late teens there was one who was a trained soprano. Sorry, but wow! No wonder no one joins! It is intimidating to be surrounded by trained singers when all you want to do is 'just sing for the joy of it'.

There were some really good things that happened self esteem wise for Eldest though. She was put in the sopranos and seat next to the trained soprano. Our choir leader is very wise. You see when an untrained voice sings in a choir they will match the nearest strongest voice of their level. The choir director complimented the girls on how well they hit the notes. Though Eldest couldn't go as high as the other girl she really added to that section.

She was glowing after the practice! Her friend will perform with us also.

I found out that I am a strong Alto. I had a really difficult time following the notes, but as I was sitting next to the loudest voice in the choir I was okay :) She was really happy when I got comfortable enough with reading the notes (well actually just looking at them, have no idea what they meant) that I started projecting. She said it really filled out the altos, and she didn't feel so conspicuous anymore.

I made the suggestion that we not disband after the holiday performance but keep going and start work on the Easter performance in January. Everyone like this idea. Seems there is no official choir director, we aren't an official choir either, just a bunch of music lovers who randomly appeared and sing together. But we all agreed that if we want people to sing louder in church we needed to bring the music to them.

I kinda want to let everyone know that you don't have to know what you are doing to sing for joy, just add your voice! Like I told when we first talked about her love of singing,

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1 comment:

Jessica G. said...

I don't sing. I was in the elementary choir because we got to miss school and go to Casa Bonita. I was in a ward choir because the choir director was blackmailing me. And usually? I lip-sync'd because I didn't want to take away from the talents of those around me.

And kudos to you for standing up to the other lady!