Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Thank You for the Music" (Part II)

To pick up my story from yesterday (soooo, if you haven't read Part I, you may go back and do so now.  I'll wait.)  ........................................  Okay, everybody up to speed??  Here we go.

When I got to the middle of Junior High, we had moved to a different town.  Whoo Hoo!  They had a Women's Chorus AND a Mixed Chorus (that's boys and girls together, gotta love public school).  So I signed up for both.  That's when I met Mrs. Horne, yet another supremely musically knowledgable Director.  Actually "met" is too strong a word.  Encountered is probably more accurate.  I sang under Mrs. Horne's direction for four straight years in both choirs, yet I seriously doubt that she could have told you my name back then, even at the end of those 4 years!

Its not that Mrs. Horne was rude exactly.  [Well, I guess I need to stop and explain something about choral singing before I go on.     In any group of singers there are always stronger singers and weaker singers.  Some people are simply more talented than others.  Some peoples' voices are stand-outs and others are great for background, but aren't individually memorable.  That's just the way it is.   Getting a good blend of all kinds of voices is part of what makes choral singing fun.  Nevertheless, the "background" voices, by their very nature, don't make much of an impression on Directors as a rule.]

Mrs. Horne had been the Chorus Director for years and her Choruses were very good and she was blessed to have several really outstanding singers, especially among the women.  There was Kathy C, Carolyn W., Doni T., Mary C., and about 6 or 7 others whose names escape me at the moment.  They had truly wonderful voices.  I, on the other hand, was always one of those "background singers", just another one of the sopranos.  It didn't bother me.  Up to that point, I had never thought I was anything special vocally.  That was just fine too.  I was painfully shy and would have hated to be singled out.

Mrs. Horne's Choruses ALWAYS got Superior ratings at both Regional and Statewide Competitions.  The soloists ALWAYS got Superior ratings  (they really were very talented young women).  Mrs. Horne knew what she was doing too!  I continued to love choral singing and to learn a lot about music and singing in her Choruses.  

Okay, this is where my life took yet another jog to the left.  In the middle of my Junior year, we moved AGAIN.  That was a heartbreaker for me.  I wouldn't get to graduate with my friends, I knew no one in the new town, the H.S. was a lot smaller.  I was pretty miserable about the whole thing.  But they had a Chorus!  So I joined least I'd still have music!

Well, I got music and sooooo much more.  I met (truly met!) Miss Jones, the Director, and she CHANGED MY LIFE.  Seriously.  She did!!

Jenna Jordan Jones was only about 24, and relatively new to teaching.  She was a hoot!!  She was young and energetic and fun!  Because she was new, and the Chorus was new to the school, she didn't inherit much in the way of seasoned singers.  But she, too, knew music and what I learned from her was less about music than it was about possibilities and risk, and self-esteem.  She had all sorts of great plans....we were going to have a summer music program, at the end of it we would have a concert and the next year, doing a musical was planned!!  Oh, be still my heart!  I had died and gone to heaven! 

Closer to the end of the school year, the Chorus would be going to Competition.  Some weeks before that, several of the girls were asked to sing solos which would be rated separately from the Chorus rating.  And she asked me!  I thought she was just being nice to the new girl.  You know, "let her audition and it will be a big thrill" kind of thing.  I was scared to death. 

We met one night at one of the local churches.  There were 4 or 5 of us and we were up in the Choir Loft while the church was empty.  Miss Jones had several songs for consideration and she had each of us sing one of them individually.  The others went first and sang a piece called "I Love Life".  It was in first soprano range, so it was right for my voice.  Each of the girls did ok with it, but no one actually sounded great.

Then it was my turn.

[End Part II!  Finish coming tomorrow, I promise!]


  1. I'm on the edge of my seat! :)

  2. I am enjoying your "Thank You For The Music." Like C.Beth, I am on the edge of my seat. I also want to wish you a happy belated birthday. Dee


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