Posted by: ritagone | December 15, 2010

Singing Again! Yikes!

Tonight I’m singing.

I’m very nervous.

You see, I’m not really a singer.

But here’s what happened:  my husband and I are in a group at church called Third Quarter (T.Q. for short).  It was started by us along with several other couples half a dozen years ago to create an environment in our church where older people could sing a few hymns and study the Bible together, fellowship with one another, and generally hang out together with the occasional social.  We’ve been on the leadership committee since its inception, so we’re responsible for the planning and execution (no pun or prediction intended) of social events like tonight’s Christmas dinner and social festivities.

Now, to many of the people who attend T.Q. at 8 a.m. every first and third Sunday morning at the church – particularly the widows and single ladies and gentlemen – this Christmas dinner represents perhaps one of the few times during this season that they get out and socialize.  To most of us, it’s easy to forget that some people look forward to an evening like this, since we have so many social obligations that we relish an evening at home with peace and quiet.  So we keep this in mind as we plan the location and the menu and the program itself.

Last year we budgeted for outside musicians, but this year we don’t have as much of a budget, and, like many other organizations and ministries, we’ve had to make some changes and cutbacks.  One of our changes for the Christmas dinner was to look inside the group for those who could perform.  (For “perform,” read carry a tune and breathe.)  One of our members is a highly skilled pianist and has played for many celebrated soloists and singers down through the decades; he has arranged and conducted some of the finest Christian musicians around.  So he naturally took it upon himself to put together a small group that could perform a few pieces.  Michael and I volunteered to be a part of this group.  After all, we sang in a choir some 30 years ago.  And every year, we participate in the Messiah Sing-along at the Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.  Easy, we thought.  We’ll do it!

So we became part of a small – seven member – choir, thinking that we would be singing some delightful Christmas carols, easy to do four-part harmony, leading the dinner group and looking pretty good up there!

Not so fast!

Our director decided that he had two numbers that our little group was more than capable of performing.  Never mind that the songs had very close harmonies.  Never mind that Michael was singing tenor for the first time in his life, having been a baritone in previous choir tours of duty.  Never mind that one of our men had upper neck surgery last week and is in a neck brace as I write this!  Or that one of our ladies broke her foot and is hobbling around with a cane(not that that affects her voice, but you get the picture)!

No, the show must go on!

I don’t think a Broadway show has rehearsed as much as this group has rehearsed.  Relentlessly for the last two months, we have met and gone over the music, practiced, cursed, wondered why we volunteered for this task, and thought about sneaking away to points unknown, leaving no forwarding address.

But we will do it.  What’s the worse that can happen?  How accurately can an 80-year-old woman in the audience throw a plate of mashed potatoes anyway?  And in the spirit of Christmas, of generosity and grace, would they really do so, even if we stink?

And our director says we don’t stink.  Every time we practice, he says, “It’s getting better.”

Whatever that means.

I’ll let you know next week what that does mean.

Meanwhile, forget what they say about pushing the envelope in your life.  Forget what I’ve said about pushing the envelope in your life.  Or in mine.  It’s highly overrated.  Better to just deck the halls and be done with it.  Fa la la la la, la la la la.


Regards, Rita

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