Confessions of a Creative Chorister

Last winter, I lost enthusiasm for my church choir. Singing lyrics someone else wrote to a tune someone else composed in the precise manner our director wanted didn’t seem like a good fit for a free spirit like me. By June of last year, I knew I was done.

To fill the void, I joined a weekly community singalong group. The relaxed atmosphere invited me to open my throat and let ‘er rip.

Many surprises ensued. I relished belting out the tune. I hit higher notes than I thought possible. Others complimented my voice. I couldn’t believe it was mine.

I had always sung alto — in my school glee club, in family sing-songs, and more recently, in church choirs. I began to wonder if I am more naturally a soprano.

Over time, I started to miss my church choir. The social contact was one reason. And the practice it offers to shut off my monkey mind was another. I need all the help I can get in the focusing department.

After a rich conversation with the director, I decided to return, join the sopranos, and work on my ability to pay attention. I will also continue in the singalong group so my spontaneous side knows it will have its turn to play.

“Coming out” as a soprano unnerved me. I had underestimated how attached I was to my alto ego.  

Among the sopranos, the front row is for the shortest folks. People like me. I didn’t feel ready for that much limelight but complied to fit in with my new colleagues.

The first Sunday in February, my self-consciousness about singing soprano and standing in front caused me to hesitate about music I thought I knew. Ironically, the song was, “Keep your eyes on the prize.”

Two of the words we repeated many times are “hold on.” My mind wanted to sing “roll on.” Maybe there’s a reason for that. If I hadn’t rolled on to that other singing group, I don’t think I would have discovered the sweet spot in my vocal range or my true desire for concentration practice.

I’m settling into my role as a soprano. When we do “Eyes on the Prize” again, I think I’ll be able sing it correctly with gusto.

But the lyric twist I almost made may cause a twinkle in my eye.


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