by Lori Reeder
Flashback: I cannot sing, seriously, I cannot sing. My earliest memories of singing always included the phrase “poor baby”. My family concluded that I must be tone deaf and sat me in a corner while they developed their musical talents. I come from a musically skilled family, all of whom play a musical instrument, dabble at playing multiple instruments, and sing with joy and abandon. But there I am, sitting in a corner, hiding my voice and wishing I could sing.
Pre-Choir: Last summer my mom came to live with me. Mom thought it would be fun to go to the summer musical workshops that our music director Bonnie organized. When mom first arrived she did not have a car, so I was her ride, and I thought I would hang out in the lobby reading a magazine
while she attended Bonnie’s workshop. I don’t know why I decided to participate–it might have been mom telling me “I raised my children to value learning, no excuses.” That first day it seemed like all we did was spit on each other—funny and a little gross, but Bonnie explained that we were actually doing “lip trills.” She was very serious about them and encouraged us to practice them at home, as a homework assignment.
Choir: God that was a lot of work. Practice, practice, practice, in the car, in the shower, walking my dogs. If I wasn’t singing I was reading about different breathing techniques, even bought a “Singing for Dummies” book to try and keep up with all the technical jargon that Bonnie used. The choir members got me out of that corner, believed in my voice and refused to acknowledge my self-doubt. Never once did anyone say “poor baby” when I was out of tune. I always felt like I was a step behind everyone else, but with their support I did it, and after every performance I breathed a sigh of relief.
Post-Choir (we’re on summer hiatus): I miss it. Everything about it. The Wednesday night choir practice, the constant study and worry until the performance, the Sunday performances. I cannot wait for it to begin again.
And now Bonnie is leaving. It’s with a heavy heart that I have to see her go. She is an amazing leader, a teacher, and I will miss her.