Childhood musings: Part 2

I like to recall my musical experiences. I yearn to use my musical talents again, and by remembering these things, I hope I will feel more motivated and inspired.

My first musical memory is about how I wanted to be in the church choir in the second grade, but the youngest age that was allowed was third grade.  I think my parents arranged for me to meet with the choir director, a very special man named Mr. McGregor.  I imagine that he had me do some kind of audition. Or maybe I just very earnestly told him why I wanted to be in the choir.  I just know that I got to be in the choir, and he picked me up in his little VW bug to take me to practice.

I was able to harmonize intuitively at a very early age.  I think I was in the second grade when I got a reel to reel tape recorder for Christmas.  I recorded myself singing Joy to the World. Then I played the song back, and harmonized with myself. I thought that was so much fun!  Even though I could not read music very well, I was always an alto, and easily learned the harmony. The choir directors were very grateful for my strong presence. But I found out later that I was really a soprano.  There were no high harmonies for me to sing when I was young, so I think that is why I was always an alto.

I loved the tire company Christmas records. Firestone, and other tire companies, would produce Christmas records with famous people singing. There was a great variety including solos, orchestras, children’s choirs, secular and sacred.  I started listening to the records in October.  My parents would buy a new record each year, so I had a lot of them to choose from.  I still sing unique harmonies that I learned form the record, including one catchy harmony on the chorus of Jingle Bells.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was in the school choir. at Emerson Elementary in Muncie, Indiana.  My teacher, Mrs. Scheoff, was the best!  She was loving, encouraging, positive and enthusiastic. She gave me a going away present when I left, and I know she loved me as much as I loved her.  Whenever we performed, we dressed up in choir costumes. I think the boys wore full black skirts along with the girls–but I could be mistaken. We all had very full white long sleeved blouses, with a big red bow. I mean big!  I loved getting dressed up for our concerts.

The very best concert was something I either attended or performed in for the three Christmases we were in Muncie.  It was the annual Christmas sing which you can learn about here  I just learned that they had their 77th annual Christmas sing, and about 5000 people attended.  This is amazing, and I dream of replicating such a thing some day.  Hundreds of choir members from choirs all over the city, mostly churches, but school choirs as well, rehearsed songs to perform together. The audience was encouraged to join in on most of the songs.

When I got into Junior High, I wasn’t so interested in singing in school choirs. For some reason, it just wasn’t the cool thing to do. I got into the band scene, which I really liked also.  But I sang in the church choir until I was about 16.  Sad to say, I left the church, choir, and singing for a long time.

But when I was about 25, I felt inspired to take voice lessons, and eventually was part of a singing group with two other women.  I still wasn’t ready to sing solo, but when the group broke up, I yearned to keep singing.  I gained more confidence in my ability by being in the group. I also was motivated to learn how to play the guitar so I would not have to depend on temperamental guitar players to accompany me.  I went on to start my own music company, Music for Life, and work full time as a musician for the next decade or so.  My love of singing and music finally came to fruition, and I loved that part of my life.

Now I mainly sing when I am at worship service, and people often say that my high, clear harmonies are inspiring and add to the worship.  I feel really good about that contribution…but as I said in the beginning, I am starting to dream of doing more with music again.

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