D’oh! (Re, Mi, Fa…)

Tonight I faced one of my greatest fears – a singing audition. Just the thought of singing out loud, solo, in front of someone who is judging me for the performance is enough to give me palpitations. But I’ve been thinking about singing in this local choir for years, because I’d heard that the guy who was the director of my high school’s choral program when I was a student there had founded it. I have fond memories of that former teacher of mine – he was a passionate teacher and had been a student of my grandfather’s when my grandfather taught voice at a university here in the Philly area. (My grandfather was a professional operatic tenor, and performed all over the country.)

This teacher was extra special to me, because I never met my grandfather yet I was sort of able to “take lessons” from him, second hand, through my choir director. During rehearsals, when he would get frustrated with our lack of “feeling,” he would start in on a story about my grandfather. “Jen’s granddad,” he would say, “was an amazing teacher. He told me that singing comes from your gut, with feeling… but I didn’t listen, because I was a cocky kid. And then he punched me in the stomach.”

He must have told this story a few times over the years, and I always loved hearing it. And I loved being part of a choir. I sang for a couple of years in the university choir in college, too. But now I haven’t been in a choir, and definitely haven’t auditioned, for around 10 years. I miss it!

Anyhoo, so I had been keeping this community choir idea on the back burner. I heard that another fellow high school alum, also a family friend, had taken over directing the choir. After coming back to PA I dedicated a few years to my bike and charity rides. Now I’m still doing that but just a little less. So, enter Facebook, where I became friends with the director, and I was finally pushed over the edge and decided to audition.

Jeez. You thought I was a wreck when speaking in public? That’s nothing. At least when I speak in front of people and my voice falters, IT DOESN’T MATTER. In a choir audition, it’s the ONLY thing that matters! Oy. I was excited for the audition and chatted with this friend of mine for a few minutes before we actually got to the scary singing stuff.

Oh, but then she wanted me to sing for her. OMG. I made it through, but I felt my face turn BEET RED while I was singing. My grandfather definitely did not pass his voice down to me, although I’m not a terrible musician and I think I can contribute well to a choir. But still, I’m not quick to say to this director that my grandfather was an opera singer, because I don’t want to get her hopes up too high. Oh god, and the sight singing. The HORROR.

But eventually it was over. We talked about whether I was willing/able to sing alto vs. soprano. She said she’d let me know this week about the “results,” so I hope I’m in. Honestly I was hoping she’d tell me right away that I was in. Especially since the series of songs we’re singing is called “Hebrew Love Songs.” Hell-O!!! But that’s not how it works. And I suppose that if I don’t make it this time, it’s not the end of the world, and I got some good practice at auditioning. Keeping my fingers crossed!!


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