The next in our series of “Why I Sing,” this post comes from Connie Berger, alto, and a member of the VCS board. Ms. Berger, who currently homeschool’s her son through his last year of high school, works full-time in retirement plan administration, and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Accounting at Northern Virginia Community College.
Music has always reached a part of my heart that nothing else can. As a child, music was that thing that I was good at, better than everyone else, that I could take pride in. Playing the piano was my outlet for any strong emotion, from joy to sadness. Playing the alto saxophone in band taught me lessons about setting and achieving goals and about working synergistically with others.
Now, as a parent, I am thankful that the thread of music has passed on to my children. There have been times that my daughter and I were so mad at each other that we could not speak. But I could play the piano, and she could stand behind me and sing. Music has created a bond that has saved our relationship. I’d hear her beautiful voice and knew she couldn’t be as bad inside as I was thinking at the moment! And the music in me was something she could respect, no matter what else she was thinking about me at the time. I’ve realized over the years that for me, music is not just a hobby. It’s a strong part of who I am, and it’s something I need to have in my life.
I spent many hours of my life practicing piano and saxophone and learning music theory. I read music fluently, and I can conquer any rhythm you put in front of me. But none of my past experience involved singing. I never learned to use my voice as an instrument. VCS has been a really wonderful opportunity for me. The group is non-audition*, so it is not scary to join. Jen is a teacher first. She doesn’t just expect the music to flow out of our mouths perfectly. She spends a lot of time explaining what she wants from us and then showing us how to do it. I have entered many Tuesday night rehearsals feeling tired and discouraged, only to leave feeling refreshed and satisfied.
I sing for myself—to satisfy my heart in a way that nothing else can.
*VCS is a non-audition choir with open-rehearsal for the first three rehearsals before each concert cycle.