I sang all the time when I was a kid. Even got into a select choir my last three years of high school, and then toured for a year with a singing group as an 18-year-old. The funny thing is, I never thought I could sing very well. Who knows how that starts? Perhaps I mis-interpreted a stray remark, maybe I was shocked at hearing my recorded voice for the first time, or it came from hearing a perfectly gorgeous voice and mistaking years of lessons for natural ability (which I did not have). At any rate, by adulthood, I pretty much figured my singing days were behind me.
Nonetheless, I truly missed singing with a group. I missed the camaraderie, the hard work disguised as fun, the very addicting feeling of being in synch with dozens of other people as we shaped chords, harmonies, turned words into songs. I assumed that any community choirs in the area would require such a level of talent and commitment that I’d have no chance of getting in (compared to where I grew up, Northern Virginia is the Land of People Highly Trained in the Leisure Pursuit of Their Choice). A no-audition choir was a revelation, but then, really . . . how good could they be?
Shame on me. I am back in a choir, with VCS, without the stress of an audition. All the things I loved about singing as part of a group are right there, and then some, because now that I’m a grown-up, I appreciate them all on an entirely new level. And after my first performance, my husband – the most charmingly blunt man on the planet – said, “I only went because I’m supposed to be supportive, but you guys were great.” And my teenage daughters thought the choir was terrific and I was amazing.
How good can a non-audition choir be? Even without validation from my picky family, it turns out it’s pretty darn good.
Karen Akers has been an alto with VCS since 2010. She blogs at Humans In The Workplace.