Not only did Sunday mark the end of my crazy time, it was also the last time other than special events (like Easter) that I’ll have to deal with two services on a Sunday morning. Starting at the beginning of the new year, we’re going to a new schedule that merges the two traditional services into one that’s later than the old “early” service and earlier than the old “late” service. That will mean getting there a bit earlier every week, but never having to get there super-early and getting home earlier, for a longer Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to the change.
But there is a big downside. The early service was where I managed to get over what had been a crippling stage fright where music was concerned. The choir didn’t usually sing for that service, so they’ve done various things over the years to provide music. For a while, they’d assign a small group to sing the same piece the choir would be doing in the late service. Since I’m a soprano, I knew I’d be heard, but it wasn’t quite like singing a solo, and that helped me broaden my comfort levels. Even after they started having the scholarship singers sing solos for that service (these are generally music majors from a nearby university who get a stipend for singing with the choir), during the summer they’d call upon regular choir members to do music, so I started with duets and eventually sang solos. But now we don’t have that outlet anymore, and I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the music in the new service. The Sunday school stuff comes afterward, so they’re on a tighter schedule, and that likely means they won’t be adding music. All the solos for choir anthems have been automatically assigned to the scholarship singers under the new choir director, so this means that there won’t be any more opportunities to sing solos, and if I want to maintain that comfort level I fought so hard for, I’m going to need to find new places to sing.
I’ve been looking into some other choral groups, like community chorales or one of the local Sweet Adeleines groups. There are a few potential issues there — there tends to be a soprano glut, so they’re not exactly going to be excited about a new soprano, and that means solo opportunities may be as rare as they are at church, since newcomers will probably have to wait in line and there will be lots of sopranos with music degrees also trying to get those solos. Plus, I’m not sure I can deal with adding a commitment one night a week on an ongoing basis. They do offer the chorale at the local junior college as a continuing education/non-credit course, and it meets in the afternoons, so that’s a possible option.
I’ve also considered exploring my interest in folk/traditional/Celtic music. There are some organizations in the area that offer lessons and some jam sessions/music circles. If I get my lip back in shape for playing the flute and get back on working on the harp, I might be able to find a group to perform with. (And this could also kind of count as work-related, since a lot of my story ideas incorporate music.) Even without finding a group, they seem to have some music circle opportunities where you can perform for others, and that’s really just what I want. It doesn’t have to be on a big stage, just staying used to the idea of other people hearing me sing.
Or there’s musical theater. I’ve always loved it, but I’ve really only done one show. I’d been considering looking into some acting classes as a way to figure out how to better convey emotions in my writing, so that makes this also work-related. There is a big time commitment, but it’s shorter term. Instead of a night every week all year (or during the school year) it might be most nights for a month or so.
But before I worry about any of this, I probably need to do some work to get my voice in better shape. It’s something that takes daily practice, and between being sick off and on throughout the fall and being caught up in working on books, I haven’t been doing that. And I also have a book due in January. But then I’ll start exploring more.