Music has always been a part of my life. As a sixth grader, I recall walking to school in the morning sing Duke of Earl with several part harmony, as only boys of that age can do. I often played DJ for the 7th and 8th grade dances and then did a survey of the most popular songs of the year. Was it Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups that won? Although I found links to the lyrics of both songs, I know the words to these and many hundreds of other popular songs by heart. And with little prompting I could likely sing the melody or maybe a little harmony to many tunes.
I’m not trying to brag here, it’s just that popular music like rock and soul has always captured my attention. Tune and lyrics simply stick in my memory.
I started playing guitar in high school, although I was shy and reserved about playing in front of people. About a year ago, my friend John asked me why I never joined our high school’s A Capella Choir, the elite musical group of the school. My response was that “I never had the confidence in my voice.”
“If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing”
— Zimbabwean proverb
Fast forward my life to the present. It’s taken most of my life (well, at least to this point) to discover the joy of singing, and actually do it in front of a live audience (as compared to, say, a dead audience?). I sing bass in the choir at Heritage UU Church and recently joined Voices of Freedom, a community chorus that will perform several times a year, most notably at the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in January. This performance will be in front of a large audience at Music Hall, the opportunity of a lifetime.
Karaoke Warning: If you happen to run into me on the infrequent occasion I find myself in a bar doing karaoke, expect to hear me belt out my rendition of Bobby Darin’s great hit, Mack the Knife.
A-there’s a tugboat … huh, huh, huh … down by the river don’tcha know
Where a cement bag’s just a’droopin’ on down
Oh, that cement is just, it’s there for the weight, dear
Five’ll get ya ten old Macky’s back in town.
At this point, I’m reminded of the old joke: “How do you get to Music Hall?”, asked by a tourist. “Practice, practice, practice” is, of course, the response.
Singing and being a part of a musical community “fills me up”. I look forward to rehearsal, knowing that our music will wash away all the stresses of the day, leaving me often enriched and happy. I am gratified to have found this gift and fully intend to pursue it as I continue down the path.
“Here comes the sun, it’s all right” (The Beatles)
“It’s a beautiful morning. I think I’ll go outside for awhile. And just smile!” (Young Rascals)