View Full Version : Choir Adventures

08-30-2010, 07:46 PM
This tale begins back in June. I was one of the kitchen workers at Girls Camp (luff!! ^_^) and one of the other ladies--also the choir director--liked to keep a CD player with church hymns playing while we worked. So, one afternoon I was singing along to myself while washing dishes and the following conversation insues (as best I can remember at least):

Head Kitchen Lady: Hey, <Choir Director> have you been hearing <Jedi> sing this week? You should get her in the choir. She's good.
Choir Director: Oh, yeah! We have a great time in choir. <Jedi> you should totally come. Please? *gives puppy face*
Me: *argh! can't resist the puppy face!!* Uh, sure. Just let me know when practices are.

Now, I don't think I'm all that good. Most days I can carry a tune, but other days I know I sound terrible. That day happened to be a good day, lol.

Choir Director: So, do you know what part you sing?
Me: Well, I usually sing soprano, but I probably should be an alto. But if you want me to sing alto, I need someone else singing it in my ear.
Choir Director: That's not a problem.

A word about my vocal range. I'm smack in the middle of soprano and alto. It's hard for me to hit much below middle C or higher than a high E. I can sometimes hit the F at the top of the staff, but it requires two mugs of hot cocoa, a handful of Starbursts, some lemon drops, and a good warm up. It's also easier for me to slide into a high note than to jump it.

So yesterday was the first practice I was able to go to (Li'l Sis was in town last week, so I skipped). She bribed me (and the rest of the choir) with candy. w00t! I will be there every week if there's candy. What can I say, I'm a cheap date. ;)

I got the music and was pretty happy to see I already knew all but one of the songs. That makes my life easier. Or so I thought. Often, this director purchases arrangements written for a professional choir. The composer is notorious for changing keys every verse and splitting into parts quite often. Parts singing is pretty easy if one is a soprano and the sopranoes stay on the melody, but the composer likes to write a descant for the sopranoes, which for him is basically the alto part an octave higher.

There I am flipping through my music, and what do I see? A song that goes insanely high. Which is not a problem for the professional choir who's sopranoes can hit notes only dogs can hear. How high, you musical types might ask? The A above the staff. Out of nine-ish sopranoes, only three of us can hit it. Guess who one of those three is. Yeah, me. I hit it during the warm-up scales after being generously bribed with Starbursts. Scales are a lot easier than jumps. I thought I sounded screechy and a bit flat, but other people said it sounded good. I'm bringing water next time.

I have to say, for only the second practice, the music sounds dang good. I got chills a couple times when everyone was singing parts. There's something about parts singing that I just love. The interplay of the different voices produces a sound you just can't get any other way. I'm excited to be a part of it--even if I have trouble hitting a few notes.

08-30-2010, 09:34 PM
I hate to break it to you, but you're a soprano. I have pretty much your range, (slightly lower), and when I finally started taking voice lessons again, SIL (B.Mus.Perf., with a bunch of vocal ped courses thrown in) said I'm definitely a soprano.

And WTF for sugar before singing? If you can still hit those notes after sugar, I'm impressed. (My choir director claimed it didn't matter once you were a better singer, but that's only that the stuff we're singing is easy once you're a practiced singer).

08-30-2010, 09:52 PM
I don't think it was the sugar necessarily, but the Starburst get your mouth and throat all saliva-y (yes, it's a word cuz I said so :p). Singing with a dry throat sucks and will result in a massive coughing fit.

FWIW, I actually prefer singing soprano because it's easier. Unless I have someone singing a different part in my ear, I revert back to the melody anyway. Although for that particular piece, I may have to drop to Soprano 2 instead of Soprano 1. We'll see how it goes, I guess.