Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sing, Sing a Song

It seems that I have always had a bit of a flair for performing.  I remember living in Lexington, Kentucky and dressing up in my mother's nightgowns and attaching her fall (that extra piece of hair that women in the 1960's would use to add volume) to the top of my head.  I would twirl to the sounds of the Lawrence Welk show in my living room.  My parent's would clap and indulge the budding performer in me.  Later, after we moved to Prairie Village, Kansas, I would play current pop hits on my plastic record player (one tiny speaker) and act out the song.  Karen Carpenter typically filled my need for the dramatic.  Just try to picture a skinny eight year old with big teeth, and frizzy hair, belting out "don't you remember you told me you  loved me baby..".  I always sang louder in music class then anyone else, and always vied for my position in class at Miller Marley Dance school,  center and front (all the better to see myself my dear).  I think by age 6, or 7, I pretty much knew my destiny was to be the next Judy Garland, and to marry a rock star.  Well, Judy's life ended tragically, and in case you did not know, architect's are the new rock stars, so I sort of got what I wanted.

You can imagine my devastation when I discovered I could not sing.  I remember it well, the summer of eighth grade year.  I auditioned and made the chorus of 'Carousel', that beautiful Rogers and Hammerstein musical, to be performed at Theater In the Park, in Shawnee Mission Park (Kansas).  This was a very big deal to me, and I took my chorus position very seriously.  I was in the middle of rehearsal when I was pulled aside and told not to worry myself about singing.  I could pretend to sing.  I had made the show because I could dance.   Well, this scarred me for life.  To this day, I worry someone will hear me sing and be revolted.  I love to sing.  If I could sing, I would own this world.  I made my way through the show, and went on to perform in many more musicals, always jumping the hurdle that my voice put in my way, and dancing my heart out.  It broke my heart though.  My voice failed me.  I was incredulous for the longest time, almost in denial.  Not me, I had heard myself sing...I was pretty amazing.  I was destined for great things.  Nope.  I wasn't.  We hear ourselves differently than others do.  My voice is flat. 

Today, I am surrounded by singers and musicians.  The majority of my social circle sing, play instruments and are in bands. How I wish I could join in on the fun....but I have nothing to offer in the pipes department and I do not play an instrument.  We all have have different abilities and talents.  Through the years I have come to accept that singing is not something I can do well.  I can make fun of my lack of ability, and I do have bragging rights that I do sing better than one person I know (she knows who she is). However, there is this little part of me (maybe it is bigger than I want to admit) that wishes I could belt it out like Judy Garland, or croon like Dinah Washington, and offer up sweet vocals like Allison Krauss.  I keep my vocals to the confines of my car and shower.  My son doesn't care if I am on tune, as long as we are singing and having a good time.  So, I guess that is what matters most.  Having fun and just letting loose.  Still, there is that tiny (maybe bigger than tiny) part of me that still wishes...


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