My First Day of Choir

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Hello, my time-conscious friends. As today’s title suggests, I recently joined a choir. How did I find time for it? Well, I basically used up my entire allotment of free time on Wednesday evenings, and my Sunday mornings to sing alto in the Highlands United Methodist Church at Five Points in Birmingham. So I get off work on Wednesday’s at 5pm and need to be at choir practice at 6:20. No problem, it takes less than 5 minutes to drive from where I work to the church. But it takes almost half an hour to get to my car, so Brant and I decided that it would be best for me just to stay on campus during this down time. I actually enjoyed the solitude. I had a mediocre cheddar bacon sandwich from the hospital cafeteria, made the slog to my car, and ate in my own space, listening to John Williams and the theme from E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial. Then I drove to the empty parking lot behind the church and in I went.

I was greeted warmly by no less than six people I didn’t know on my short trip up to the choir room. A hand was stuck out by Lindsey, who was dolling out the music for the week. She smiled and introduced herself, and already knew I was Lindy’s friend. FYI: Lindy Owens was the person that convinced me to join the choir in the first place. I was assigned a number for all my gear (there is so much music, from every era I know of) and told to sit anywhere. Of course, I chose to sit by Lindy. As we chatted about, well pretty much nothing, everyone strode in. This was the first rehearsal since their summer break, so everyone was getting reacquainted, but most of them still noticed I was the new fish and introduced themselves. I felt so welcomed… it was great so far.

The choirmaster (who is also the organist) came in and immediately started us on vocal warm-ups. Arpeggios going pretty high for me, but I sung along. Then arpeggios down, not really too low for me. Then he motioned for us to sit, warned us he was going to bust through things quickly, and he wasn’t kidding. He mentioned the name of a song, and started playing it. Luckily, each song had a number on the front, and my neighbor told me what the number was. It wasn’t too hard, but I had never heard it and stumbled a little. We divided the choir between the girls (sopranos and altos) and boys (bass and tenors) then all together. Next song. This one was weird, but he promised we would love it once we got it. A piece of the Magnificat. It was so tonally hard for me to get the notes, but by the fourth time I think I had it decently down. It pretty much spun like this through all the songs we were to sing in church in the near future, and then we broke for the evening.

The choirmaster called me to the front before I left. I thought I was going to get booted for the couple of lemons I warbled during some of the harder pieces we sung. The first thing he asked me was “what choir have you sung in?”

I stumbled. “I sung in youth choir when I was a kid, but I mostly play music. My Mom has been a church pianist / organist since before I was born (I don’t know why I said that). I play piano, French horn…”

He smiled. “I knew it. I was watching you. I could tell you knew how to read music well. And you caught on very quickly. I think you will be an asset to us here, and I want you to be a part of our choir this Sunday.” He had me fill out an “about me” card, sent me to get fitted for my robe, and that was it.

I felt so great! Totally worth losing seeing my husband until almost 10pm. Not that I didn’t miss Brant, but this is fun, challenging, and makes me feel so good. I just had to tell you all about it.

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