Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The rehearsals at work have begun for this year's annual holiday concert. We're doing most of the same songs as last year, which is good because I haven't been able to make all the rehearsals. But I finally made it to one today.

One of the songs we're doing is Mao Tsur, in 4 part harmony - soprano, alto, tenor and bass. (I can't find a version I like to link to, so if you don't know it, sorry.) So the director asks the group, "Who's singing soprano?" and every woman in the room raises their hand. So the woman who is also playing piano for us (and is probably one of the most talented musicians I know, more on that in a moment) says she'll do alto, and then they ask if I'll do alto because they need strong singers to carry the line. I almost looked behind me to see if they were talking to someone else. I did say I'll sing whatever part they need, but ... I don't feel like a strong singer. I'm a strong singer when I know the part. Usually. The alto part is not only very different from the melody, it's also all off, tempo-wise. I don't know the musical term but it sort of repeats the line after the melody - or in the middle - not exactly on the measure. Then it skips words to catch up. I wasn't feeling so strong about it... and we went over that alto line like 5 times and I still wasn't confident. The woman who plays piano said she couldn't sing and play at the same time. Correction - she said she couldn't sing that alto line and play the piece at the same time. I was surprised. She's that type of talented person who will look at a new piece of music and say, "Wait a sec... ok..." and then just play it. She can play anything on the piano. She has a beautiful singing voice. She probably plays other instruments too. She has two musically talented children. She studied music in school. Her family goes to music "camp" over the summer. So all I could think was, "I better make sure I'm standing near her when we sing this so I can follow along..." She's the strong singer who will be carrying the line ... not me. I will be the strong follower.

It was kind of fun to learn it though. I used to learn harmonies all the time. I'm out of practice. I'm really out of practice. And it's low. Is alto lower than mezzo even? Maybe. The low notes are low. When the notes went up on the staff it was like a drink of water - I felt relief, it was comfortable. So it's a challenge. I may not be the strong singer they think I am, but I guess I can give it a shot.

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