Monday, March 23, 2009

Solo, So Low

Hmmm, AC, you might as well embarrass yourself further by writing one more post dealing with your musical shortcomings. Well, why not? On the bucket list that I’ve been loosely following, there’s a question about whether I’ve ever sung a solo, so here goes.

The sad answer is, “Yes. I have sung a solo ... or attempted to.” And the result, along with my choir and fiddling experiences, seems to indicate that my music should be limited to being between my iPod and my ears. Voice and performance should not be attempted by AC – not in public at any rate.

Once upon a time, I was an emerging teenager and going to a very small charismatic church. They began to hold a young peoples meeting in a house. Since there weren’t many of us to call upon, I was asked to sing a solo one night. Well, I had no idea how to prepare a solo, such as work it out with the accompanist ahead of time. What the adults, including my parents, were thinking, I don’t know. Yes, I do; they didn’t know either. Anyway, the result was predictable, and I was never asked for a repeat performance. I sang When the Roll is Called up Yonder, and I’m sure that just about everyone was fervently agreeing in prayer: “Even so, come quickly, Lord.”

There was a later attempt, also involving church and young people, but it requires a little more explication.

These days, many kids want to play in a rock band, but back when I was a religious teenager and when gospel concerts (southern style) were all the rage in my circle (anybody remember All Night Sings?), it seemed that everyone wanted to sing in a gospel quartet. Because I had and have a pretty deep voice, I was asked to join a new quartet. We called ourselves The Royal Sons – great name, lousy group.

Without prattling endlessly about all of the details about the quartet’s trials and tribulations, let me skip to the end and reveal that in the fullness it fell upon Mr Bassman (who was found lacking “that certain something”) to sing a solo part. After much rehearsal, I seemed to have it down to passable standards in practice but, then I mysteriously struggled onstage on the three occasions in which I performed it publicly.

As I thought about it, I realized that when performing for an audience, I was struggling to reach the higher notes. When I mentioned to the self-proclaimed leader that I thought we needed to bring the key down a notch, he confessed that they moved the key up on me during performances because he, the lead singer, needed the notes to be higher for the refrain. Can you imagine the cheek of sabotaging the soloist in a piece? What unChristian-like gall!

So, you see, I have sung a few solos. And none of them worked out very well. I should have sung so low that nobody could have heard me.

Considering my recent confessions about choral singing, fiddling and now soloing, it really does seem I should limit my musical experiences to sticking the iPod in my ear, or at least the earphones attached to said device. The poor souls who have been forced to listen to my various attempts to make music, however, would no doubt prefer to shove the whole iPod … er … ahem ... blush ... yeah ... you know where.


Ruth said...

lol! I can so identify with this post,... the church, the youth group, the All Night Sings at Massey Hall. My parents were (still are) missionaries and with 5 children, they had a fully staffed music department. We all played instruments and sang in church by the age of 12. Thank goodness there are no recordings of the music!!

Jinksy said...

A plague on people who change key! If you have the kind of ears that expect notes to be spot on to the ones you learned straight from the sheet of music, it's a harrowing experience...But four part harmony is the greatest thing sice sliced bread.

MARY G said...

I live with good musicians and cannot carry a tune. This can be a real crock at times. I make my contribution by being able to remember all the words and saying them.

Donna said...

That was INDEED a nasty trick! I'm Sure your voice was Very nice in spite of it!!!hughugs

Pearl said...

Ah, you come from religious roots too.

It's not your voice inherently but training. Get a voice coach to train the throat muscles and that deep voice could do any number of solos with grace.

Although I do like your image of the parishioners praying that the coming is soon. :)

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

"the Lord works in mysterious ways."
He chose to not stop you from singing, not once but twice.

KGMom said...

The Psalmist said--make a joyful noise to the Lord--not sing sweetly.
I have a feeling you are quite adept at making a joyous noise.

Lorna said...

When I was younger, I could and did sing solo---and did it well, but there came a time when I broke from the Chruch I was attending, and it seemed like a break from my ability to sing as well, Looking back, I'm sure it was psychosomatic, but I've neverr recovered. I loved singing and would love to make a joyful noise to the Lord, but we're not on speaking terms---at least I'm not on speaking terms with His go-between.

thailandchani said...

I wouldn't dare sing anywhere, any time, because I sound like a cat being dragged through a knothole in the fence. Also, it's just not something that I want to do. Still, I honestly believe people who enjoy singing should sing. If only for themselves and the sheer joy of it.


Woman in a Window said...

Ah, it's more about heart and less about hear, I should hope.

Mary said...


When I was young, I sang in both the church and school choir. When the grandsons were young, they loved to hear me sing. Now they cover their ears and say, "Grandma, please stop!" LOL

You have a deep voice and I don't think you would be all that bad, but then I've been known to be wrong a time or two.

Hope you have a great week. We are to see some higher temperatures. It sure was a chilly wind here tonight.

Janet said...

You never ever ever change keys between rehearsal and performance, especially without letting the others know!!!! unChristian gall indeed.

Anonymous said...

Yes.. some of us are simply meant to tap our feet and hum along. :-)