Here I sit on a Saturday afternoon, cozy in bed as I type this. Charlie, my sister’s dog that stays with us frequently, is curled up at the end. Enya is playing in my headphones in an attempt to put myself in a writing mood. Dana is mowing the lawn, and it is also going on in the background as I type antiphonally.
Using a music term brought be back around to my voice lesson, and how grateful I am for them. The voice that I thought I’d lost has been found… and now that I see my teacher once a week, I have the chance to perform some amazing repertory that I previously thought “unpossible.” In fact, when I was talking to him about what to sing for church, he said, “How do you do with Bach?” I could only quote another singer, which at this moment I cannot remember but is in the pantheon of singers that I have met between church music and my sister being in the children’s chorus at Houston Grand Opera, but I digress. The singer said, “not well. It shows all my flaws with breath control.” It is so absolutely, completely true that I could not put it any other way. Melismas that go on for three pages are not my idea of a good time.
I will sing Bach, eventually. I will… and none of that wimpy “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” crap. I’m talking Et Resurrexit, people. I’ve done it once before, with Trinity Cathedral choir in Portland, but it was truly a half-ass kind of fumbling in the dark. I figured if I got 40-50% of the notes right, I could hide behind the real sopranos.
My whole life, I’ve thought of myself as “the velveteen soprano,” because when my sister and my abuser were both in my life at the same time, I couldn’t have wanted it more and I couldn’t do anything about it. The attention was on my sister as a singer and me as a trumpet player. I chose trumpet in the sixth grade, and once you’re on the track, it’s moving without a place to unload.
There was one time in the 11th grade where I made varsity choir and varsity band in the same year (and was the first person in the history of Clements High School to do so… or, at least, that’s what Mrs. Buehler told me and I’m going to believe her because it strokes my fledgling little soprano heart.
Anyway, it comes time to try out for All-District, and I make both of them. Turns out, All-Region tryouts for band and choir were on the same day, and thus ended my academic singing career. The All-Region contest was actually for marching band, and we came in 7th. Maybe I should have gone with the choir.