I sang in my high school chorale, and I loved it. Sadly, I missed almost all of the Christmas programs: I contracted laryngitis like clockwork, three out of the four Decembers I attended high school. The one year that I got to participate, my teacher was more excited than I was when I was finally able to perform in the Christmas program.
I attended an all-girl high school, and there was a local boys school that recruited at our school when they had need of female voices. I never tried out for the musicals, because the idea of auditioning was too intimidating. I think I was actually selected by my chorale teacher for the one gig I got there. Two other girls and I were invited to sing the vocals for Gonna Fly Now on stage with the boys school's concert band.
We had one rehearsal. Oh, the song was constantly on the radio, there was no problem with knowing the lyrics or the notes. But we had only one rehearsal with the band, where we were told that we would stand on stage, to the side of the band; we would share one mike; oh, and, one last thing - *I* had to sing the first note, and *I* had to get that note from the band at one specific spot.
Wait! Where was that again? How did that measure sound different than the one before? And, do I get, I dunno, some sort of score to follow?
The other two girls ran with the popular set. One was the girl whose hair always looked perfect. All day. With, apparently, no hairspray. I mean, it swayed and bounced just like Lana Lang complained about Lois Lane's hair in that episode of Lois and Clark where they were trapped together and had to talk. The other girl was her inseparable friend. They went to the prom together, both wearing tuxes. I was the smart geek who hung out in the math lab, and knew how to put together a Soma cube in 15 seconds. And here I was, being singled out again, just because I had the purest, strongest, most beautiful soprano voice.
Um, have I mentioned that I Do Not Have perfect pitch? Did I make it clear, in the above paragraph that I had no clue how to find that one elusive note from the orchestra? If you are familiar with the theme from Rocky, you'll know that there is a lengthy musical fanfare leading up to the vocals, which begin on a high note.
The three of us got together to plan our outfits: black dress pants, white blouses. I'm sure the other two planned their hair together. I've no memory of how I did mine, but knowing the era, I'm sure that I didn't do anything to take advantage of my gorgeous red hair. I probably had it in an unattractive bun, minus the curly bits that Blondie always has. I was so nervous.
The night came. I had friends and family in the audience. We stood onstage as the band played, resolutely not fidgeting, with no place for our hands. Then the moment came. I think. I thought. I sang out. My voice was strong, my note was pure. The others joined in and we sang.
It was finally over.
After the program, I asked my friends how we did. They said that when we first started singing, there was some sort of feedback, and then the techies did something, and everything was fine.
The truth is, I had the wrong note, and my strong, pure voice resonated exactly wrong with the instruments. They turned our mike off, and the audience thought they heard the rest of the vocals. After all, we moved our mouths, we were obviously singing away.
One of the friends I had in the crowd was my boyfriend. He played drums in a rock band, had perfect pitch, and studied classical composition. He was the only one who knew the truth. But he was kind enough not to bring it up in front of the others.
Since then, I've always been shy about singing on-key. I mean, I get compliments on my voice, but I'm only comfortable singing in a large crowd or solo a capella. Knight swears it was me, that time in Rupp, when the conductor commented about the strong soprano up in the audience at the the Christmas Sing-a-Long.
One of the first things I came to love about my church is the worship music. Since it is amplified contemporary worship music, I can sing out as loud as I like, and know that my voice is harmonizing with all the others, not standing out or creating feedback.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Ps. 100:1 KJV
This has been my entry for the LJ Idol writing competition, Topic 19: Hear Me Roar!
By the grace of Gary, both ladyozma and I managed to pull through the last round of voting, so watch this space (or my journal) vote a link to the poll when it opens on Wednesday.