I sang my first solo with the full chorus this weekend- which is kind of a big deal for me as I really tend to shy away from solo performing.
Now, I have sung in a trio and in a quartet in concerts before, but not for awhile. And I do sing in the small, 16 member ensemble within the chorus (where I had to sing a solo not of my choosing for one small event). But the small groups are a bit different from a performance perspective as it’s not just me up there.
When it comes to singing, I really am quite shy of my voice.
Why? I’m not really sure. I mean– taking all ego out of this here– I know I have a decent voice. I can sing in tune and I have a clear timbre, not a heavy vibrato and I have a healthy range. Intrinsically I know all these things.
But getting up and singing for others makes me intensely nervous.
I can publicly speak with zero issue. I can be in stage and act without issue. I can ham it up and make a fool of myself without issue. But with anything musical? Nope.
Part of it is fear of messing up. Of being “less than perfect” or “a bit pitchy” thereby ruining the art of it all. And I tend to focus in on the minutiae– a slight burr, my breath, tension in my throat, a crackle– and get very paralyzed by the perceived imperfections.
I think part of it is that deep down, I’m still that shy kid that shunned any sort of spotlight or focus. I was (and still am) content to let others shine if that’s what they want.
But as of late (and because I’m 50 now) I’m trying to make changes in my life. Taking chances. Forcing myself out of my rut.
So, this weekend we were working on a piece for our Christmas concert which would also be used in our outreach concert this past Sunday. It’s a choral setting off Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods in a Snowy Evening”. And it starts with a solo.
When the director asked if anyone might be able to sing the solo, I hesitated… and then raised my hand. So he had me sing it.
And I sang it in our outreach concert, unmic’d, in a church with lovely acoustics. And it went well.
I was nervous, of course, but sang it without discernible issue.
Now here’s the lovely part: SO Many chorus members came up to me to say how good I sounded. So many compliments on my timbre and the ease of my voice. One guy came up and said he wanted to “Ursula” me and steal my voice. And each of them to a person said in kind of a shocked/surprised way “I’d never heard you sing before….”
I kind of thought people had heard me sing all the time. Certainly my own section has. But it was really wonderful to hear all the positive feedback. And fairly ego boosting.
Now, this does not mean that I will be singing the solo in the concert in December– I would still have to officially audition for that on the 22nd of this month.
And maybe I will audition now.
Go for it! (And my apologies for not stopping by.)