Wednesday, April 27, 2005

With Wan Voice

I have an embarrassing confession to make.

I am a Lutheran who cannot sing.

Well, perhaps I'm being a little harsh. Let's say I am a Lutheran who cannot read music and who, while able to hold a tune fairly well, possesses a reedy voice lacking in confidence; it just has no oomph.

And that's bad enough.

Every time I go to one of my lay ministry get-togethers, I feel altogether inadequate during our chapel worship. These services are usually quite informal affairs, but the worship leader often includes a hymn or two and perhaps some sung liturgy, and I find myself surrounded by clear, resonant voices and spontaneous harmonies. It's simultaneously delightful and depressing. It's like bringing a tiny plate of Easy Bake Oven brownies still warm from the lightbulb to a dessert reception held by professional pastry chefs.

I've tried to learn to sing. When I was in college I sang in our church choir, mostly in order to hang out with my friends; my main role was in providing visual ballast to our small group. One of my choir buddies was a fellow student with an Ethel Merman voice and stage presence -- much to the distraction of our choir director, a droll fellow with a formidable background in Anglican choral music, who spent a lot of time trying to restrain Auntie Mame so she didn't completely overwhelm the other singers. Anyhow, my musically exuberant friend tried to explain the mechanics of singing to me, but as soon as she started tossing around terms like "diaphragm" and "solar plexus" I was completely lost. I also spent a couple of my college years strumming a gee-tar in an interparish folk group -- again, mostly to hang out with my friends -- but my only real contributions to this endeavor were, as they say, three chords (sort of) and the truth.

Maybe this is just midlife-crisis crazy talk, but...I want to learn to read music, and I want to learn how to sing for real. I don't know how, and I don't know when, but I'm going to do it. And you read it here first. So don't say I didn't warn you.

Florence Foster Jenkins -- patron saint of the musically challenged Posted by Hello


Dash said...

Pshaw, Sister! God don't care! Belt it out!

LutheranChik said...

Oh, you say that now...

This morning we were getting into a little high school musical nostalgia in our satellite office, so I was singing along to Bob Seger on my coworker's computer -- "You can come back baby/rock and roll never forgets!..." -- Simon Cowell would have been on me like a cheetah on an antelope (a fat antelope).;-)

But I like to think I'm trainable, even at my advanced age.

Anonymous said...


When I was at Concordia Senior College, all of us were required to take chapel choir at least one semester. The choir director used to brag he could teach everyone to sing, except for one person. None of us knew if he was referring to one of us.

But I do know how hard it is to carry a tune when everyone is looking for you to be the leader.

LutheranChik said...

I just want to be a competent follower at this point.;-)