‘Happy Birthday’ is tough, apparently.

Daily Prompt: Attempt #1 (Sing)

I love to sing. I sing by myself and with others all the time – just not by myself in front of other people.

Choir was my favourite part of elementary school – and dodgeball. Even though I felt I was one of the few who actually wanted to be there, singing, and the teacher was harsh, choir was fun.

English was my favorite part of high-school –and choir, well, even though the calibre and instruction greatly improved, it wasn’t fun. The audition consisted of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, a song which you wouldn’t think would test anyone’s vocal abilities but apparently has some tricky technical bits to it that made it a suitable audition piece.

I made it. We practiced every Wednesday for two hours in the evening. We had to read music (which I didn’t like and wasn’t terribly good at, so I used my ears more than my eyes…). We also had the most terrible dress code for a bunch of energetic teens who loved to sing; stuffed into formal shirts, ties and blouses, immaculate trousers, and long black skirts for the girls (which, honestly, made us all look like severe, elderly nuns -and ministers?). I don’t know. What I do know was that I hated dressing for performances; I looked fat and stuffy and the boost in self-esteem I got from singing was almost entirely destroyed with the horrendous wardrobe requirement.

And, 99.99% of the songs we sang were in Latin. They were old songs, stuffy classical songs, slow songs, Christmas songs – in Latin. And no offence to the composers or the arrangers or conductor, they were, I’m sure, all great musical achievements and very pleasing to the ear and the audience. But when the group is for teens, and the audience is their parents, and none of them are from 17th century Vienna or classical music buffs, and that is all you practice, practice, practice and hear all year, a craving for some heart-stopping, head-pounding, rock and roll, some feel good folk or classic contemporary tune in a language that is not dead, begins to grow in your heart – or at least it did in mine.

I sing for fun. I sing for solace. I sing for me. I trust my vocal ability, and it’s way easier to carry than a fiddle, cello or piano. I can take it in the shower or into the backcountry or along the busy city streets. I love to sing.

I’d like to join a choir, a group –just to have that comradery, to be able to play with sound and hear different voices, grow, build something new and have fun at the same time. But I’ve not found an opportunity that offers the flexibility and integrity that I am looking for, so, for now I’m on my own. Hopefully not forever!

–Sam

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