We Got the Beat!

Up until sixth grade I went to Catholic school.  In third grade, the school I went to had morning mass everyday before school and some holy days we would have mass later and sit with our class.

One of these holy days I was sitting with my class and was next to my teacher, Sister Em.  After mass, Sr. Em pulled me to the side and told me that I had a beautiful voice and she wanted me to see if my parents would let me be in the kid’s choir for the church.  I was thrilled and so were my parents.  Eventually all my siblings and I were in the choir.  We sang at the 10 am mass every Sun and even sang at some festivals, on the radio, and even recorded a tape.

That was the start of my singing career.  I was in choirs at every church and school that we went to from there on.  I enjoyed it and was never more relaxed than when I was in the middle of a song with or without an audience.

At my first high school, I was able to get into the choir that freshman weren’t allowed in.  Half way through the year my Dad was transferred (Navy) and we ended up at new school in a different state.  They would only let me in the freshman girl’s choir, since all the other choirs go through an audition process every spring.  I didn’t mind; I just wanted to sing.

The choir director wanted to get an idea of my range and ability.  So he handed me sheet music to one of the songs that they were preparing.  It happened to be a ‘test’ day in the class.  This meant that every member of the choir had to come to the front of the room and sing their part into the mike, while the director wore headphones and played the piano for that person.

I knew the song, but not necessarily the part.  So when my turn came up, I belted my part out as well as I could.  I fumbled on a few of the notes, but when he had me stop he said, “You may not have all the notes, but you sing it with confidence.”  I learned a lot from that man for the next two and a half years.

He had a doctorate in music and it showed.  He could get amazing results from mediocre talent.  There were days where the song we were preparing was sung one note at a time until the entire choir was perfect.  Some of those days we only sang three bars of the song in one hour, but your spine would tingle as everyone got on pitch.

Later in life, I learned to wait for that feeling.  A song really wasn’t ready for a performance until your stomach ached and your spine tingled.  You may not know the feeling that I am talking about, but it is the same feeling as when I shared a first kiss with the love of my life.

That’s was a great performance is.  It’s a first kiss.  It’s passion  The weirdest part is it doesn’t have to happen with people you love.  There have been times that I have had that feeling when singing with complete strangers.

There have been two people who I have sung with often, who I get to share that feeling with almost every time we sing together.

The first person was a friend who I sang with in a trio for a church choir, but we only got it when the trio was a duo.  The third member of our group could never learn how to blend (a loud singer with a good voice who sings like it’s a solo every time he sings). This group was a married couple and me.  So the few times that the husband was sick, the wife and I would make beautiful music.  When the husband was there, no one knew we girls were even there.

My second ‘perfect’ singing partner is my sister, Ivy.  We grew up singing together, but had about 10 years of our adult lives where we didn’t even speak let alone sing together.  After we started communicating again, I found myself in her kitchen with music on.  There were other people in the room who were singing along with us to random 80’s and 90’s hits.  All of a sudden a song was playing that we knew the harmony to.  Ivy and I started melding together and trading melody and harmony without any planning or even looks or nods.  My spine started tingling and I noticed that of the 5 people in the room only Ivy and I were still singing.  The song ended and one of the girls in the room, Daisy, said, “Oh my god that was beautiful.  When did you practice that?”

All Ivy and I could do was laugh.  No practice needed.

Don’t let me fool you.  I am not a star quality soloist.  But I am a fantastic half of a duet.

This was in response to today’s Daily Prompt

For more responses to today’s Daily Prompt:

 

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “We Got the Beat!

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  6. What a wonderful story.Do you still sing?

  7. Such great words and memories about the importance of music, and how it helped shape you!

  8. Great post. I love your description of when you get the harmony right. My friend Jane and I have done this as well. I was at her house recently and we were talking about a song I wrote (30 years ago!) and suddenly we both sang the chorus together in harmony. We “high-fived” and laughed; it gave us such joy!

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