On a week that has been mostly made up of the mundane – which I am presently, totally sucking at – I was interested to note a few really awesome things that happened to me. In the midst of Centrelink reassessments, hot humid temperatures, swollen feet and legs, really poor sleep on consecutive nights, another week of atrociously unhealthy eating, numerous medical appointments and eventually culminating in the decision to once again increase my medication … I joined a Community Choir!
Yep, you read correctly … I JOINED A CHOIR! (I know I am yelling but this is yell worthy stuff!)
Last Monday night, one of my guardian angels (aka AOK), picked me up and drove me to choir practice for the first time. Scared? Terrified! Both of us were. We had seen this choir perform previously and had spoken together about how great they were and that it might be fun to join them one day. And now, that day was upon us.
We arrived at the venue at the same time as another newbie, who happened to have a baby in a pram. We walked together as neither of us really knew where we were going and it wasn’t long before we were confronted with the STAIRWAY OF DEATH!!!! There appeared to be NO lift or ramp that we could see and so we did what any self respecting 50+ and closer to 60 than 50, women would do … we helped the lady with the pram and the baby. Did I mention swollen feet and stuffed knees and overweight and hot and humid and totally stressed due to all the new things? Well, AOK knew all the things about me and picked up the side of the pram with the mother and began that trek with purpose up those stairs. I, on the other hand, took her handbag from her and thought – Kill me now!
I think there were 3 such flights of stairs in all but I can’t be sure due to my brain exploding halfway up the second flight, not wanting to be left out, after my lungs exploded at the top of the first! Surprisingly, my legs actually waited until they were 3 steps from the top before they shouted NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! And now they expect me to sing? Surely, it must be obvious to all and sundry that I was actually DEAD? Not just dead but my body and mind was splattered all over those bloody stairs! Thankfully, there was about 15 minutes to recover because at that point I had forgotten about singing and was totally absorbed with breathing. The only thought going through my mind was … OMG I have to do this again next week!!!!!
And so to the singing. It appears to be a lively group of about 50 – 60 teachers, parents, old boys, old boys parents and their friends. All of who seem to be far more musically trained than me, which was not surprising as I have absolutely no musical training at all! Unless you count having been married to a music teacher for 20 years or being the mother of 2 musicians, self taught guitar playing and leading the singing out the front of church 25 years ago does not count as musical training. I was sol fa (pun intended for you musicians) out of my league, with AOK only a smidgen behind me. But … we can both sing so we will not give up!
The next hour was a flurry of vocal warm ups, posture reminders, diction lessons and learning the better part of 5 songs, of which I had heard of only 2 previously. Being an alto means I never get to sing the melody, so even those vaguely familiar were not the part I needed to sing! Challenging? You think? My brain has been on a long break for quite awhile and was actually functioning on doing one thing at a time. Here I was, expecting it to read new words, sing new notes, listen to others, remember my diction and my breathing and now I’m expected to move in time with the music, while doing all the above AND it is supposed to be in time with all the other choristers!!!
After we were finished and were mingling and chatting, I must have been looking completely shellshocked, because the choir master came up to me and thanked me for coming and said not to be overwhelmed because I would be surprised how much I would remember next week!
I joined a Choir and it was terrifying but fun. The ability to laugh together when you are learning new skills is something rather wonderful. Add to that the comfort of hearing someone else say – I am completely lost. I just have no idea where we are up too! Those are the things as well as the beautiful singing and the happy faces, that convince me that I might just be able to fit in here and become a part of something joyful and positive.
Of course the closing words should go to my angel, AOK, who was heard to say and I quote
“At one point I found myself thinking that I probably shouldn’t be harmonising with Mandy, when we’re both singing alto!”
The blind leading the blind comes to mind!!