Sunday, August 9, 2009

High School Chorus

In high school chorus I sang Alto. There were sopranos, altos, tenors and bass. I think sometimes the sopranos were divided into soprano I and II. Most of the girls wanted to be soprano - there was some sort of status associated with it. I liked alto because it was like a puzzle to learn and sing the harmonies while the sopranos screeched behind me. The teacher would put the "weaker" altos in front of me and my friends so we could sing into their ears and therefore guide them. There were very few boys in chorus, no surprise, so for some songs she actually asked me to sing tenor. Tenor! I sang tenor for the Hallelujah Chorus. To this day it's the only part I know. My voice, no, my throat, would feel warm after singing that low.

My senior year I mustered the courage to try out for the special performing chorus. Well, that's not entirely true. One of my friends wanted to try out and she convinced me to try out too. The group was called "Somethin' Else." Pretty much all the boys who were in the regular chorus were in Somethin' Else, because only the boys who could sing joined chorus in the first place.

Since I was trying out sort of on a whim, I had nothing prepared and nothing rehearsed. Luckily, I had a friend who was an amazing piano player. He could sit down and play any song in any key. So we met for 5 minutes in a practice room and I asked him to play "When I'm 64." He played it in various keys until we found one I was comfortable singing in. We decided to skip certain parts of the song that were just too weird to sing solo. Then I went out and sang. I acted. I got totally into it. My friend went next. She sang that song from Ice Castles that everyone hated. Normally she had a very pretty voice, but I guess she was nervous. She slid into every single note. It was embarrassing. Ended up, I got in and she didn't. Awkward! Luckily for us the teacher knew what my friend could do, and when we went on our trip to Toronto, or Montreal, whereever it was we went, I asked the teacher to let my friend be an alternate in case someone couldn't sing.

The costume we wore was so 80s. Fishnet stockings, black trunks (think, bottom half of a leotard) sequined vest and a white bow tie. We should have been serving drinks in Vegas. Instead we were singing and dancing for the entire school and everyone's parents. We sang Dreamgirls, Long Train Running, Hernando's Hideaway, um... damn I can't remember what else at the moment! All alto for me. Then with the chorus we were given solos. My shining moment, of course, was when the entire chorus sang, "We are the World" and I got to sing Huey Lewis' part, "But if you just believe, there's no way we can fall..." and then "when we, come together as one." Alto part of course. I sang with some screechy soprano. We should have switched parts. So many of the kids were basically imitating the person who sang the part on the recording. I was determined not to, so I didn't.

I know there's a photo of us in my high school yearbook. I'll see if I can't take a picture of it and post it here.

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