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I like to fade into the background

Years ago, pretty much before I had a kid and it became all about her, I embraced being the center of attention, musically speaking. In high school, I was in the musicals and plays, eventually working my way up to the leading role my senior year (Reno Sweeney in "Anything Goes"). I was also in the chorus, and had a few solos here and there. And the first half of my senior year I pretty much was the alto section since most everyone else could not get the harmonies or was too shy to sing out (I jumped ship to the sopranos the last half of the year because I wanted the "easy" part).

In college I used to sing in the dorm showers, and Mariah Carey's "Vanishing" got me a tryout with a local band thanks to someone in the dorm hearing me sing. My senior year, four of us worked on an education project in which we all shared our musical talents with the class (I sang something from my favorite show, "Jesus Christ Superstar"). And after 13 years of singing with the choir for midnight mass at my childhood church, I finally sang "Ave Maria" my last semester of college, which was something I had wanted to do for years. That solo pretty much paved the way to my singing at friends' and relative's weddings for the next 10 years (I sang my last wedding on a hot July day in an un-airconditioned church when I was 7.5 months pregnant).

I have been in my church choir since 2001, and I cannot recall ever wanting to sing a solo, and I certainly have had no desire to cantor. I am just way too nervous, which is mostly a result of the deterioration of my voice (use it or lose; singing only twice a week does not do much to keep it in good shape). The other reason I am happy being one of many singers? I just don't feel comfortable having my voice stand out in front of people that I know but am not close to. Strangers I can probably handle. And singing for most of my relatives does not bother me too much either (in fact, I sang for a few relatives' funerals two years ago). But there is just something about singing for/to these people. I just feel judged, I guess, which might be all on me. Or at least mostly, anyway.

Nonetheless, tomorrow morning, I will be singing in a quartet with my kid and a mom and her kid as the adult and children's choirs combine. Even though the four of us are singing only a few lines without the choirs, knowing that my voice sometimes cracks and I don't quite know all the notes is making me pretty nervous. Can't really hide mistakes with microphones in front of us!

I do think it is nice that I am getting to sing with my kid, and I am trying to focus on that, but that does not change that for many years now, I am much more content fading into the background. That is not such a bad thing, right?


Jessica R. said…
In high school I was always so jealous of the girls who could sing in the musicals. Maybe it will be like working out and that old "muscle memory" will come out to help you. Good luck!
bluzdude said…
I'm definitely jealous, because can't now, nor could ever sing a lick. Try as I may, my singing voice has all the sonic appeal of a end loader.

Believe it or not, I always loved Jesus Christ Superstar. I bet you sang "I Don't Know How to Love Him." OK, that wasn't a reach... that's the only real showcase for a female voice in that play. But I bet you killed it.

Good luck with your big moment. And you're right... it's really all about having the experience with your girl.
Facie said…
Jessica: That could happen if I put in the time, though most likely I won't get back to where I was.

Bluz: That only slightly surprises me; I think the music makes the show. And, yes, that is what I sang. I sang "Everything's Alright" when I tried out for "Anything Goes" and that obviously worked.

Today went pretty well. I think my voice slightly wavered just once, but hopefully no one noticed it!
I bet you sounded great! Good for you for facing down something that made you nervous.

I think your transition into becoming someone who likes to fade into the background is really interesting. I wonder if it has anything to do with becoming a mom and having your child become the center of your own attention. (But then I'm probably just projecting my own emotions onto you...) :)
Facie said…
Kristen: That is pretty much it! And I don't know that I sounded great, to be honest, but I at least don't think I sounded bad. Of course I cannot imagine anyone telling me if I did...

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