Monday, 30 April 2012
Anyone can sing
Not everyone has a beautiful voice, but everyone can sing, and with practise can sing fairly well.
Having just returned from a singing lesson where I tried for the first time ever to sing the Agnus Dei from Mozart's Coronation Mass, I can state with absolute certainty that it is possible for anyone to at least try.
When I was a child I was told I had a 'nice' voice and adults tried to get me to sing to them on every conceivable occasion. I wouldn't, couldn't do so. Nerves, embarrassment, fear of criticism made me mute.
Very old friends could occasionally persuade me to sing for their parents or grandparents but only if I could stand behind a door or a curtain.
At school when required to sing in a school concert I would only do so if someone, anyone, else would sing with me, and it wasn't until I was about 18 and had left school that I joined a choir and really began to enjoy singing for its own sake.
Many years later, having had years of tuition from a really excellent teacher, I had Morley College Opera, Kentish Opera, The New Opera Company and others under my belt and was at last aware of having quite a good voice and of feeling proud of it.
After I married I gave up singing, having no time or energy for all the necessary rehearsals, and it wasn't until John who had a good strong bass/baritone decided to audition for the London Philharmonic Chorus that I once again found myself auditioning. This time for John Alldiss. He accepted me (as a first soprano) and turned John down.
Despite his hurt feelings John always supported my endeavours and attended all the concerts in which I sang for the next 7 or so years.
After a very severe attack of bronchitis and being unable to speak for several weeks, I found to my horror that when I returned to the 'Phil' who were rehearsing the Bach B Minor Mass, I could not pitch at all and I was making a most horrible noise. I handed my score in and never went back.
After that I didn't sing for 24 years, and it was after John's death that I first tried a few tentative notes. I sang bass with a local school choir in their Christmas concert at St. Mary's church and from there took the first steps to singing with the church choir.
Luckily for me, the musical director pointed me in the direction of their voice coach who is also a very good teacher of voice,, and hey presto, singing was again on the agenda.
That was two years ago, and apart from some loss of power, plus the fact that I'm now a contralto there is still a reasonable voice in my crumbling ancient frame.
If I can sing, so can you.
The picture at the top is of the last opera in which I sang. It was a performance of "The Bartered Bride" at Sadlers Wells theatre and I am the one on 2nd right at the front.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 4:37:00 pm