The Off Season

I’m into the second full week of the summer break, and strangely, I’ve only been able to sleep past 8 AM once. I’ve read two books (Finished The Wednesday Wars–fabulous YA novel–and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I loved), completely ignored my RSS feeds, watched movies, visited with family, and yes, done a little work.

But what I’m most excited about this summer is the absolutely most terrifying thing I’ve done in recent memory. And that includes presenting at local workshops and a national convention.

I’m singing in a small community choir.

The choir director at the school where I work has had a dream of organizing a small community choir to rehearse during the summer months. He and his dad (who was my choir director back in olden times) are sharing the conducting load. Our first rehearsal was Sunday night, and I couldn’t believe how terrified I was. I haven’t sung in a professional-grade choir since 1996. My voice is out of shape. My sight-singing skills are rusty. And it didn’t help that I was sitting next to the choir director’s wife, who has a gorgeous voice and a degree in music. Completely intimidating.

But I like to do things that terrify me (except anything having to do with heights). It places me in a position that I’m sure my students often find themselves in. They think they can’t write, or can’t read, or can’t speak, or can’t think, despite how much I believe that they can. 

During the break of our rehearsal Sunday, I talked to my choir director friend and told him how terrified I felt. He reassured me, and reminded me that the whole point of the choir was to gather his friends, family, and former students, and have fun learning music and creating gorgeous sounds.

And after one rehearsal, I’m completely humbled to be part of the group…even just with sight reading, some of the sounds coming from our tiny choir were absolutely gorgeous. 

My favorite so far? Hands down, this piece, written by Z. Randall Stroope…who was the last choir director I sang under. I often didn’t agree with his methods, but holy cow, can that man write an alto line that actually moves…

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