It all started with Christmas songs.
I don't recall ever sharing my singing voice with anyone. I was in band, liked to sing in the car, and may have sung in the shower. But I was never in chorus or choir, nor did I sing out at parties (unless the stereo was WAY up and it was VERY late into the party). But when E was born, I felt compelled to sing, and she was a newborn, I told myself, it didn't matter whether I could sing or not.
But I kept singing to her, then to V, then we began singing together at home, in the car, in the park, on the train. Wherever we went, we found music or made our own.
A few years ago, as the girls were really coming into their own, I began wondering: can I sing? Am I ruining them with my singing? Clearly they had beautiful voices and it seemed to me they could each hold their own. I didn't want to hold them back with my ineptitude. So I set out to discover whether I should continue influencing their vocal music education or simply shut my trap.
First, I looked for voice lessons; not an easy task here. I finally found voice lessons offered through, of all places, the city's parks & rec department. Alas, the instructor honesty believed that all women were sopranos. The premise was ridiculous, and after a couple of weeks of trying to meet her expectations, I dropped the class.
Then I thought about my stepdad, a member of Masters of Harmony, a regular International Champion Barbershop Chorus out of Southern California. I enjoy the four-part harmony, and they have a pretty strict vetting process - if you can't sing, you're out. So I decided to look for the women's counterpart (Sweet Adelines) here on the Central Coast, and was immediately welcomed into TriCity Sound Chorus. It was Christmastime, so the songs were easy to learn.
Then came the new year, and a new part - baritone - the "other" part, the melody upside down. Learning the part isn't so difficult on songs that predate my lifetime by several decades, but for anything I've EVER heard before, it's a challenge. Christmas songs "upside down" are particularly difficult after a lifetime of singing the melody (lead) of those.
By the second Christmas, the girls were ready to join in the holiday program. E loves to sing. (V loves to sing, too, and has a beautiful voice, but she's not into making her performances public.) Both stood on the risers for rehearsals, and ultimately the Friends & Family Christmas performance where they were well received and did really well. But come the new year, they were out again, too young to stick around year round.
E continued singing the Christmas program two more years before, last year, she was invited to stay with the chorus year-round. She is now the youngest member of the chorus (by far - I'm the next youngest), and is doing wonderfully on the front row alongside wonderful, beautiful, talented and loving women who support her all the way.
Every two years, our chorus goes to regional competition for evaluation, as required to maintain the charter. We work really hard together in preparation for the graded performance, grow tired of our performance package, learn choreography and vocal skills, work on showmanship and grow closer together. This year, E got to be part of that process.
This past weekend, we trucked over to Bakersfield for the Region 11 Convention/Competition. E stood alongside her lead peers on the front row and shined while I enjoyed my spot on the top riser, more relaxed than I've ever been at this event. It was fun, and we, as a group, gave what seemed to me the best performance we've given in my half decade with them.
E said she had fun on stage, but I'm certain she was extra thrilled that with bright lights of the big stage come makeup, and costumes, and big girl shoes. She loves music, but those frilly things were certainly major perks.
Primping to Perform:
V and her dad had a lot of time together - pizza, games, pool and movies: