Monday, December 08, 2008

Sotto Voce

That I was in madrigal choir is probably of no surprise to many of you.

My high school years were not the epitome of athleticism (though I was on the track team - as a shot put and discuss thrower) and while I perhaps had the smarts, I didn't gravitate to more scholastic activities like debate team or Latin club.

My gig was singing.

I started young, performing with school children's choirs, and that's when I determined that I loved the limelight of the spotlight that came with belting out solos. The most memorable solo of my youth involves me getting in a garbage can and teasing my hair, crooning to a dirty Chuck Taylor while singing my part of a Sesame Street medley.

In later years I tackled solos in German, French and Italian, all tunes that allowed me to explore the power and range of my voice.

High school brought on the opportunity to audition for a select madrigal choir. That group came with period costumes and the chance to experience an intense holiday performance schedule at venues around Connecticut. Ours was a group full of "chorus" people - you know the type. We sang our set list in the hallways during study hall. We'd belt out trills and embellished versions of the most popular tunes on the radio.

We would sing after school, we'd sing in the car. We'd sing at each other's homes. We were such a solid group of singers that we snagged an opportunity to tour Europe for two weeks. We never stopped singing (on that trip and in general), and I loved every minute of it.

A powerful mezzo-soprano (my torch song is "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina"), I really wanted to go to college to pursue a degree in voice. To this day, I don't know if my parents were wise or harsh in insisting I chase down a more lucrative vocation. Honestly, I also delight in the bit of irony that my chosen major of journalism has never really been considered a cash cow.

Their firm request sent me off to college a bit hurt and disappointed.

With the exception of the rare karaoke night, I haven't sang in an organized fashion since. In college, it was too painful to "play sing" by joining any one of the choruses on campus. I'd watch those groups with envy, though, knowing full well I could belt out a tune with the best of 'em.

These days I get my singing in while showering or driving.

I gave it up many, many years ago, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to jump back in to some kind of organized musical endeavor. I have a feeling the opportunity would take me back to the good 'ole days when I was a kid.

I wonder if that's how these guys feel.

Straight, No Chaser is an a cappella group that first started singing over ten years ago at Indiana University. Back in the day, the group was known for singing classic songs with a humorous twist. One of members uploaded an old holiday performance on You Tube, and it's now been seen by more than eight million people.

The viral sensation has led to a record deal for SNC, so the group is apparently getting back together after all these years.

They're squeezing in a tour and time in the recording studio in between their day jobs - all for an opportunity to relive a moment of their youth and crank out some really fantastic music.

I can only imagine how ecstatic these guys are.


Loree said...

The thing that made me laugh out loud was that Journalism was your safety. It was the same for me...I probably would have pursued creative writing, left to my own accord, but I wanted/needed a job where I could actually "make some money." Heh.

Loree said...

Hmmm...I can't seem to figure out how to get off of Blogger when I leave these comments. Anyway, I'm blogging more frequently at HGW as opposed to WBB these days, so that would have been the URL I would have