Yesterday I auditioned for the King’s Chorus. I am still amazed at myself.
It was literally the first time I had ever sung solo in public for an audience. Not since grade 6 had I sung at all for an audience — I sing in church, in the car, and occasionally at home, and that’s it.
I sang “Lord of the Dance,” because I knew I could manage its tune, I love it, and it encouraged me to project my voice. The director was very kind, laughed when I said I felt I would be at the bottom of the skill level, and encouraged me to come and have fun with the choir. King’s has two choirs — one extremely good one, and this chorus for the rest of us.
Music is one of those things I am eager-hesitant about. I love it, but am not very good, and not dedicated enough to practise enough to get noticeably better. I try fitfully and give up. If I could change one thing about myself by a wish, it would be to be a good musician, and in particular to have a good voice. To be able to keep time, be in tune, to improvise, to write music — how I would love to do that. It’s no accident that the main characters of both novels I’ve been working on are musicians (one more of a poet, but still good at the music side as well). I find myself describing song frequently through the stories, not just because of the character’s perspective but because that’s how I respond falteringly to the world.
Let the rivers clap their hands, and the hills sing out with joy.
I was drawn over the hump of my shyness and reluctance by a few things. One, the encouragement of various parties who have never heard me sing but love music to try out — including the impersonal desire of the Chorus to have more faculty involved. (I can do my bit.) Another, my mum’s encouragement to try something new, to stretch myself and be stronger, to do something I’ve long secretly desired to try. (Thinking that if I was too timid to do this now, how on earth do I expect to actually go walk across Europe was a factor.) And the third: that the Chorus’ ‘project’ this term, the thing it will be working towards performing, is Carmina Burana.
I sing that at home, in the car, in my mind’s ear. The opportunity to try to learn how to sing that was enough.
I have decided this was an item of exactly the spirit of my 30-before-30 List, so even though I didn’t even contemplate putting it on it, I am going to replace an item I’m just not going to get done in the next three months with this. In particular, making a stained glass lamp. The stained glass place is too far to get to on a regular basis without a car (all the way over in Dartmouth, but not even a convenient part of Dartmouth), and when I might have had time in the spring the busses were on strike. So here is the new list item #22.
(I did sort of design the lamp, though.)