For those that don’t know, I’m a classically trained vocalist that never took my singing to the professional level because I was too busy finding myself. Yow, that sentence kicks me in the gut a little, but the truth hurts sometimes. I had the talent (or so I was told), but never had the drive to make things happen. I was too young and too hungry for social interactions to get to my 8 am Music Theory class or practice my conducting assignments (p.s. I looked like an untrained monkey flapping its arms). Besides I was going to be a singer, not a teacher. So who cared, right? Well, my professors didn’t care if I was there or not, but my parents sure did. After my second year of mediocre grades and a slew of incompletes, they pulled the plug on my music school career. I continued taking vocal lessons for a year or so, but finally stopped all together due to lack of money and having no idea where I was going with it.
Over the years, through my twenties and my first marriage, I lost track of how much singing meant to me. I forgot how it made me feel and how it freed me up inside. Some people find it through exercise, talking or drugs. My freedom comes from singing. As loud as I can. Driving in the car, blasting whatever song I’m feeling at the moment. Windows rolled up, so it’s all I can hear. All I can feel. For a long time, that’s the only singing I did. Car, shower…yada yada yada. After meeting Kofi (second and last husband), the glimmer of hope shined on my little musical heart. Being a musician himself he encouraged me to record a few songs with him for my friend’s wedding gift and my mom’s birthday. It was…glorious. Standing in his small recording studio/bedroom, singing to his instrumentals was dream like. It felt so right. It made me feel closer to him and closer to myself. All that anger that I’d been holding on to from my first marriage started to fall away piece by piece. Oh we had such plans! We wanted to record an album of covers, then one of originals. A non-traditional Christmas album done our way. The dreams went on. They turned out to be just that, dreams. We put them off and off and off… then we had Miles. Yeah well it takes much more dedicated musicians than ourselves to get into the studio on a regular basis with a baby in the mix. So we let it slide indefinitely.
For some odd reason, now that we are on baby number two, the music has bullied its way back into my life. Thanks to a friend, I started singing with the Raritan Valley Community Chorus while I was pregnant with Juniper. I wasn’t really sure if I could continue after he was born, but here it is three and a half months later and I’m making it work. From there I was offered a spot in the Riverside Quartet as the new alto. A professional quartet! It’s not Broadway, but it’s filling me up inside.
Being a full-time stay at home mother can be (and is) overwhelming. The tears, tantrums and tribulations drain me like nothing ever has. I’m assured by my peers that my children are lovely and well-behaved (in public anyway), but that doesn’t make the tough days any easier to get through. Up until now, I was able to find some solace in quiet activities like cooking and crochet, but it wasn’t the cleansing that my spirit needed. I guess my voice needed to be heard again. It had been wasting it’s time on yelling, pleading and correcting and forgot how to be happy. It’s now slowly relearning how to be pretty again. It’ll take some time to get my voice back in shape, but I’m willing to put in the time. I need this.
A side note: After a particularly grueling rehearsal, I find my stomach muscles feeling tighter as if I’ve been doing some crunches. So, if I can get a flatter tummy out of singing too, what’s not to love?