Yesterday was the first day that I really had my voice back, and it was a great pleasure to sing for a few hours.
The solo went well, and then I spent the Sunday School hour working on some other music. With musicians, actually. Since I spend a lot of my music time with non-musicians, it is noticeable when I get to work with musicians. I’m not sure why. The obvious first thought is the quality of the music produced, but it isn’t always that. Think how bad I am at bells. It might be the ease of talking about what you’re doing with people who share your perceptions and vocabulary. Or the fact that musicians are less likely to get their feelings hurt if you suggest a change in dynamics or going for a straight tone on some particular song or something.
At one point, while working with the choirlet, I had suggested a diminuendo on a final note, and the woman who was singing the high G assured me that if she was actually able to hit that note, she wanted people to hear it. This is not the kind of thing musicians say.
Sjohn and CD and I made a pact, that we would frequently criticize one another’s singing in the choirlet, so that the others would see having people say, “I think you’re a quarter tone flat on that note” as a mark of membership in the in group rather than as a slap in the face.
Bigsax, hearing this, told us about his first job as a church musician. He had held the first “grace” in “Amazing Grace” for two beats, as it’s written in the hymnal. A congregant cornered him in the hallway after the service. “Young man,” she said, “that note should have a fermata, and it should be held for at least 5 counts. If you can’t do any better than that, you should rethink your choice of profession.”
That might have been more of a slap in the face.
I also prowled around seeking whom I might devour recruiting soloists for the early service. I was hampered in this at first by uncertainty about the terminology. In Baptist churches, I know, you would ask people to “bring a special,” while Presbyterian churches ask people to “sing a solo” or “play a duet,” or whatever the case may be. Having checked with my Sunday School to be sure I had the right terms for Methodists, I set out confidently on the hunt.
“I’d sure love to get you on the calendar for special music,” I said warmly while passing the peace.
“I have a trio I think you girls would really enjoy doing. You’re not saying no, are you? What about you? Did you say no? No? Okay, I’ll get that music to you!” I said, having pounced upon a group of teenagers in the hallway.
“I hope you’ll consider singing this with me some time,” I said to the Secret Tenor, pressing a piece of sheet music into his hands. He started to speak, then stopped. “What is it? Were you going to say that you never want to sing with me? If that was it, then go ahead, tell me.” I can’t swear that I didn’t say that roguishly.
I have changed so much. Ten years ago I had the task at another church of recruiting greeters for the door. I had agreed to do this because it didn’t seem possible to me that people who called themselves Christians could refuse to greet their brothers and sisters at the door of the church.
They did. They refused freely and frequently. And I was not good at this in those days. I would call a couple of people and be turned down, and I would give up and do it myself, in my choir robe, scuttling into my place in the choir room at the last second and leaving latecomers to fend for themselves.
I’ve improved out of all knowing.
#1 daughter got a call right after lunch informing her of some emergency in jury selection, and had to race back to Texas. She took her computer along, which required us to redo our computer network at the house. This required the guys who were doing it to undo the window treatment and move all the furniture, and in the course of that, I got the chance to notice something about the ottoman.
Last week was living room week, and I got most of the janitorial stuff done — dusting and so on — but didn’t finish because #1 daughter was here for the weekend and I wanted to spend time with her instead.
I might have let it go, but since I clearly have to recover the ottoman, I am going to give Living Room week an extension and get it finished.
Errands, today, and analysis of statistics, and this evening I’ll do the ottoman. The thrills never end.