Friday, March 30, 2007

A Time to Keep Silent

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.


Ginger said...

Can you recruit some men from the area so that you have a group to sing along with? It seems such a shame to have a chance at singing with a community choir and not to continue. I'm sure they'd appreciate more men joining up.

Dale said...

Yes, I agree with Ginger. Please don't give up, AC. You say you enjoy singing and the choir needs male voices.
Maybe if you asked for help ...?

I'd love to join the choir at church, but right now, I cannot commit to either rehearsals or Sunday mornings.

Cathy said...

I'm sweating in sympathy. I had a very similar experience a few years ago - OMG! how I wanted to bolt and run. I TRULY was over my head. You are musical and you may as well hang in there till they ask you to leave :0D

Gina said...

I sang in my collge choir, and it IS difficult to sing when the music starts playing. I was lucky enough to have at least fifty other altos to follow, but if I had been alone, I would not have done well at all.

Don't beat yourself up, it is hard to learn a part in just a couple of weeks!

Pam said...

I can't sing a lick and wish I could. If you enjoy it, I say try again...maybe another guy will show up.

ChrisB said...

well from one who cannot sing a note and would love to be able 'to keep a tune' I say don't give up 'if at first you don't succeed try try try again'

Hayden said...

oh, what you're saying is hard, very hard to do! I think that ginger and dale are right, try to recruit others and ask for help. Years ago I sang in choir, and it was very difficult to learn to do. Just last week I tried to sing harmony with a simple song on the radio and realized I'd completely lost the knack and was humming all over the place, but rarely on key. It's worth doing, even if it's very difficult.

Linda said...

Don't give up AC. To be able to make music with other voices is heaven on earth. Be patient. As the accompanist if he/she will help you out. A few moments of individual help is all you need. I'm sure of it.