“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” ― J.M. Barrie,
Today’s post covers a topic that I am very excited about, as it is one of my greatest passions and what I have a degree in. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it ad nauseam too. 😉
Music has been a part of my life since before I was born. My mother would sing to me and play her favorite songs while she was pregnant with me and my father, who is a self-taught (and very talented) musician would sing and play his guitar for me when I was a child. The first time I watched Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and heard the sweet soprano voice of Princess Aurora (sung by opera singer Mary Costa), I knew in my heart that I wanted to learn to sing like that.
Growing up, my love and passion for music never wavered, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I had any talent for it. Though I was a Visual Arts major at the time, most of my friends were Music and Theatre majors. I would attend all of their recitals, concerts, and shows and secretly wish that I was up there too. It was a constant nagging that I just couldn’t shake. But since we don’t hear ourselves as others do, I never thought I had any talent and was too insecure to sing in front of them.
Everything changed the year that my college’s Swing Choir performed a medley of “Phantom of the Opera”. I was immediately obsessed with the music and the vocals of Sarah Brightman. I learned the songs but only sang them at home..when no one was there. As fate would have it though, my mom overheard me and was completely shocked at the sounds coming out of my mouth. It was already known that I could write, I could draw and paint, I was dramatic, and now I could sing. She told the leader of our church’s music group and I was promptly invited to sing during Christmas Eve service.
My whole world changed that night. Praying that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself, I nervously joined the group on the “stage” to sing with them. After the first notes came out of my mouth, I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Feeling braver the longer I stood up there, I did something daring – I took the melody line of “Silent Night” up an octave so that my tiny, light soprano voice soared above the heavier altos, tenors, and basses. Looking out at the rapt expressions on the congregation’s faces as they heard it told me I had done the right thing.
Things took off rather quickly for me after that. I switched my major to Music Performance, began studying privately with a vocal teacher (one of my music teachers who specialized in operatic technique), and performed in the recitals and concerts that I had been dreaming of doing – even having my own recital with the music staff my sophomore year! You can see a list of some of my repertoire through the years here.
Over the years, my good fortune with music continued to grow. I have been a paid church choir director, have traveled to and performed in Austria and the Czech Republic, done a few recordings, taught both privately and at a small music school where I live, and one of my favorite accomplishments was being asked in 2004 to perform in my former college’s production of “Into the Woods” (one of my favorite musicals) as Cinderella.
And, if I can get my confidence back, maybe I’ll do some videos of me singing on Instagram…😬
Peace & love,