Man, my post yesterday sure was pissy. I was in a mood, thats for sure. Anyway, things improved, I talked to a friend online and then another on the phone, and emotionally felt better. I was still a little phlegmy from being sick, but nothing too bad, and the sneezing has stayed away.
I got ready for choir and L picked me up at 7 and we went to rehearsal. Its getting down to the wire, only 2 real rehearsals left, as the last one before the concert will be at the actual venue, and we’ll be doing staging and placement. So we got set to working really hard pretty quickly. We warmed up and the director told us we’d run through the songs and work on problem areas, and then get up on the steps and do some placement, and run through the whole show.
We might be cutting Snowfall, which is too bad because its really pretty and I think its pretty easy. But Uncle John and Sleighbells are 2 somewhat difficult songs, and we keep spending a lot of time on them.
Sleighbells is still the bane of my existance, but its getting better. The final phrase is sung really fast and we just weren’t getting it, and I was getting so frustrated trying to figure out the beat and the words. So we actually spoke it out, breaking id down, and slowly sped it up until we could speak it. Its “jing a ling a ling a ring, jing jing. Hey! I could not get it. I kept whispering it under my breath and then L said, “Think of it like this, you need 2 lings to get a ring” and it clicked. Phew. But that song takes a lot outta me, even just sitting down. If we pull it off, it’ll be a miracle. But the director is incredible, and she works wonders. I just hope we don’t cut Snowfall.
I think we finally cleared up the trouble spot in Uncle John. The song was written for SATB, or Soprano alto tenor base. So there was one spot where the altos were supposed to sing a pretty high note, and it wasn’t gonna fly. So the director kinda rearranged it and it cleared up the problem spots pretty well. Now we’ve just gotta work on singing the words really crisp and clear, or the point of the song will be lost. All this in 2 weeks, yikes!
While we were still sitting, she said, ok, Christmas Song. This is one of the songs I auditioned for, the one where if sung as written goes all high Beyonce style, so I had modified to stay low. She announced the soloist and under study and I was neither. Ok. Thats not the one I really wanted anyway. We didn’t sing through it because no one said they had problems.
Eventually we got up on the steps, and she hadn’t mentioned the other 2 solos, Santa Baby, which I didn’t try for, and Merry Christmas Darling, the one I really wanted. We got placed and I’m on the very top row, which is nice because I’m on a big flat spot. After sleighbells, I stepped back and my butt hit something and I said, oh something’s behind me. L said, yeah, the alter. I was like, God will forgive me if I lean on it. I was dizzy. Still recovering from being sick, and a lot of work on the songs.
We went through A Christmas song and the soloist sang. Then we got to Merry Christmas Darling. She still hadn’t said who was singing the solo, and the solo is right at the beginning of the song.
So as an afterthought, she’s like, oh the solo!
I’m holding my breath. I had wanted to shout out, what about Merry Christmas Darling! earlier in the night, but didn’t want to sound too eager.
Time froze, who was gonna sing it? The other girl who I thought did really well on all 3 songs hadn’t gotten A Christmas Song or Santa Baby and I just knew I had lost Merry Christmas Darling to her.
My knees went weak. I waited with bated breath, heart racing, thinking I had done well, but so had she.
I told myself not to lock my knees. This all happened in the span of like 5 seconds mind you.
So she announced the soloist for Merry Christmas Darling…
Hmmm, do you want to know?
Sighted people can just glance down, but sorry screen reader users lol!
Gotta go line by line now. You know me and my suspenseful self…
Really want to know?
By now you should have guessed…
Would I be this silly if I hadn’t gotten it?
Yep! I got it! Wow! The song I wanted! And the main soloist, not the understudy!
So I find out like 20 seconds before I have to sing it. The piano intro is played and its time for me to sing. It came out well, except for one note that cracked, and after I was done I went like “bleajghick” and giggled lol.
After that we spread out to sing our last song, the new one we got last week. Its super easy. L and I will remain up there because of where we stand, so we’ll be like front and center for that song, with all the other women spread out in the aisles. We went through that song and afterwards the director came up to me, told me I’m amazing and gave me a hug. I said thank you for giving me the solo, and she said, “I didn’t give it to you, you earned it.” And laughing she said, “I didn’t just give the blind girl the solo” hahaha. The director’s best friend, and the nurse who went on all our tours said, “You must have had a pretty good voice teacher growing up.” I said, “Yeah, I was in this little choir with a pretty good director.” Of course I was joking about the choir I grew up in, with the same director.
I owe so much to that woman. I joined her choir when I was in fourth grade. I moved through the beginning choir and into the intermediate choir in fifth grade, and didn’t audition for the advanced choir, because I was too scared to go on tour while I would only be in sixth grade.
After the spring concert in 5th grade in the intermediate choir, we got tapes of the concert, and mine ended up blank. So over the summer, Mom and I went to the director’s house to pick up a tape, and she told me she wanted me to audition right then and there for the advanced choir. This was highly unusual. She asked why I hadn’t auditioned before, and I told her I was scared to go on tour. She assured me and Mom that the next tour would be to southern California and we would be going on a tour bus, so there wouldn’t even be any flying.
So I auditioned that day in her house, and made advanced choir, and went to California the next April, while I was in sixth grade. We sold candy to raise the money, and then I got on that bus, leaving my family behind, for ten days.
We slept in a church hall and sang in a festival and went to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. It was so awesome!
She gave me the courage as a sixth grader to leave my family and go on an adventure, and I went on 4 more adventures with her in the advanced choir, before I graduated choir in my sophomore year to focus on my junior and senior year of high school.
I remember on one of the tours, I broke away from the group to call home at a non-designated time. The director got really mad and took the phone from me and told my mom to “cut the apron strings”. I don’t remember how old I was, but I know it was one of the later tours. My Mom and I were so angry at the time, but looking back, I totally understand it. I needed to experience being “out there” on my own, in this safe group of people.
This director taught me poise and stage presence at a very early age, she taught us how to be respectful young women when we sang in the churches that put us up. We always stayed in non-denominational churches, because there were so many faiths of girls, or no faith at all. She, being the devout Mormon had only one request of us. “Oh my” and “God” were never to be in a sentance together. That was her only request. I still use that rule. She never pushed religion on us. We sang at the Sunday service as payment for staying in the church, and that was it.
She taught me about confidence, she trained my voice. That choir saved me, helped me feel a part of, helped me have a purpose, and I know it had a lot to do with the reason my drinking didn’t start any earlier than it did.
She kept in contact with me over the years, and actually thought I was dead at one point, when she had lost touch with me. When I showed up at a concert unexpectedly, She cried and threw her arms around me, so happy to see me.
She always told me she would be here for me, whatever I needed.
I sang in her retirement concert when I was just under thirty days sober. It was such an honor to sing for her, at her 20 retirement. One of the songs was called “Motherless Child” and I remember her giving me a knowing look at the concert, when we sang that song.
When she found out I had MS back in 06, she called me to see if I was ok. I assured her I was, told her I was over a year sober, and she asked if I had God in my life. I told her I had found a power greater than myself, that I didn’t go to church, but I had faith in something, not knowing what it was, and it was getting me through this diagnosis. She accepted that with no qualms, and was so happy for me.
Then, 3 years later, she offered me a place in her new choir, blind, not knowing how we’d figure it out. She assured me that it wasn’t a strict choir, that some women need to sit for the concert, that it would be fine, we’d figure it out.
So thanks to L, I joined the choir. And the director thought I’m good enough to grant me the solo.
All the techniques she taught me all those years ago came right back. I sit up ttall in my seat to allow for diaphragm work. When she’s working on parts with another voice, I slouch back, but as soon as I hear ok everyone, I snap up at attention ready to sing. L said last night when the director said ok seconds, I snapped into position and the director saw me and said I meant sopranos, and I relaxed again lol!
I didn’t even mean to go into writing about this magnificent woman in this post, but my feelings overwhelmed me after writing about the solo, and it just kinda happened.
When I think about the past, and all my contempt towards religion, I think about her faith. Her undaunted faith, a faith she never ever pushed. And now that I’ve found my own undefined faith in something bigger than me, I think about those few persons of faith from all those years ago, who planted a seed in me,a see that would one day save my life, when I needed to rely on something other than myself, to pull me out of the gutter and go on living. And this woman gets a lot of credit for that.
She not only helped me find my voice, she helped develop me into the woman I would some day become, a woman I love, a woman I am proud of, a woman who can confidently audition for a solo, not the timid voiced little girl I used to be.
Haha I was just thinking she deserves her own label, and what would that be? I have to make it something to do with Mickey Mouse, because in choir we knew, if she was wearing the Mickey Mouse shirt, she meant business, and we best be on our best behavior. Hmmm, I’ll need to think about this label 🙂
I love you Miss K, and oh here come the water works. I made it through this whole post without crying until now 🙂
Ok, I really don’t know what to label her as. We never called her Miss K, but you know how I am about trying not to use names. I’m thinking about either Miss K or Miss Mickey hehe. Hmmm. I want to tell her all these things, but would I find the words in person or on the phone? Maybe I’ll send her a link to this post. Yeah. I think I’ll do that. After the concert when she’s got time to relax.