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?