That made me laugh. It (A Time to Keep Silent) was the title of tonight's chapter in my nightly reading to Cuppa, for, at that very moment, I was despairing deeply over the sounds that I had been trying to make, sounds that hadn't come out well. You see, I had wanted to sing certain sounds tonight. I had practised them diligently, but I had totally flubbed my part during rehearsal. So, it was good to chuckle for a moment.
Is that just a tad cryptic? Well, here's the story.
I went to choir practice tonight for the third week in a row although the choir had been rehearing for a month prior to my arrival on the scene. They are starting a new community choir in this area, and a neighbour who overheard me vocalizing around the house (I do that a lot — hum, whistle or sing — almost without realizing it) asked me to join. When I hesitated and explained that I really have difficulty harmonizing, she asked me to try anyway and extracted my promise to try going to two practices before making up my mind.
So in the due course, I showed up for the first practice and was rather mortified to discover that I was the only guy there. Not being a reader of music, not for singing purposes anyway, I made myself sit and observe and maybe hum the occasional bar. But they sounded good, and I decided that I'd really like to be a part of the group.
So, I got hold of the music and tapes of the bass part. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to practise my part before the next (my second) rehearsal (last week). Nevertheless, I was aided by the fact that I wasn't the only guy. Indeed, I was able to sit beside a fellow who more or less knew the ropes. I followed him, sometimes behind the beat and sometimes badly, but there was reason for hope. So, this past week, I practised some more and thought that I was ready for tonight's rehearsal (my third). I was quickly disabused, however, because I was not, in point of fact, ready at all.
Unfortunately, I was the only guy again, but because I had practised on my own, I thought I'd be able to muddle through to some degree. However, I'm afraid I really, really floundered when it came down to it. You see, although I can pretty well sing the bass part when I'm by myself, it happens that as soon as the full music starts and everybody starts singing their parts, I get totally lost and seem unable to fathom what notes I am supposed to be singing. When surrounded by those other voices, I can't seem to hear my part in my head. Tonight, it was so bad that I really would rather have been almost anywhere else, but a grown man can't really run out, so I stuck it out ... and despaired of my plight during every agonizing moment.
I disappoint myself. I know that I don't have a solo quality voice, but I can sing. I mean to say that I can carry a tune. It's just that I can't seem to sing harmony when all of those other voices get going, especially if there's no one to help me along. I'd like to sing with this group, but I really need strong bass voices around me to lead the way. Do I go back one more time and hope that those other guys will show up, or do I just toss in the towel?
I hate to be a quitter, but maybe this is beyond me. I don't know why I find it so hard when it seems so easy to others, but I do, and it frustrates and disappoints me. I feel stupid. So, maybe, for me, it really is "A Time to Keep Silent." But it no longer makes me laugh.