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my voices catches me

2004-10-29 - 10:29 a.m.

We had our first rehearsal with Paul Salamunovich last night. He spanked us, hard. He also told us that the reason he was doing so was because he loved our sound and thought we were a really great choir. Rehearsal went for a little under three hours, and it was the hardest I think I've ever worked, musically speaking. The man is brilliant, uncompromising, and incredibly passionate about the music and the text.

At one point, he was trying to explain his thoughts on the inevitability of a Gregorian chant-like line: "I'm falling! I'm falling--but my voice catches me. It always does." I'd never heard my feelings about singing articulated so clearly. I do not have a truly great voice. I merely have a good voice, a decent voice, but it always catches me. It always does. Singing, that mystical combination of music and text, is what has always carried me through my darkest moments. I remember when I broke up with my first boyfriend. I thought my heart was broken, when really what had been damaged was my pride and my sense of self. When I went back to choir after a week, for the first time, I knew everything would be okay. I remember vividly the sense of the music coming out of my body healing me. People may come and go, but this music, this stays forever. My voice caught me. It always does. I remember the first time we sang Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and both my grandfathers were in the hospital. I remember the feeling of desperation, of unwillingness to accept this reality. I was falling. And I remember going to rehearsal and singing "Veni sancte spiritus ... consolator optime, dulcis hospis anime..." Come, holy spirit, thou best of consolors, sweet guest of the soul. And my voice caught me. It always does. It always, always does.

I've been out of the house so much I've barely had a chance to miss R. When I really miss him is at night. I was watching the Daily Show last night and I kept wanting to tell him things. Most of all, I miss him when we're on the phone together. We've yet to have a conversation where we're both alone and can talk really freely. I hate the sense of constraint that is always present on one end of the line. I deeply miss being alone with my husband. He gets back Monday night, which means I really just have Sunday to get through by myself. Of course, Sunday I'll be busy cleaning the house and going to my sight-singing class. Monday night I'll probably skip rehearsal, or at least skip the second half, and come home and bake something scrumptious for him. If I'm good, I can time it to come out of the oven about 15 minutes before he gets home. I'd love for him to be able to come home to a clean house that smells delicious, with a nice snack waiting for him.

Also, regarding the Ashlee Simpson-Saturday Night Live scandal--god, I wish I'd been watching that. That will go down as one of the keenest regrets of my young life. My take on it: Acid reflux is real, and it can wreak havoc on your voice. That's why singers with the disease generally take care to take their medecine promptly. I've also heard that loosing your voice from acid reflux takes a few weeks to recover from, and if she was able to sing a few days later, she hadn't lost her voice. If her throat was merely scratchy--hey, singers have to sing when they're not feeling well all the time. You can sing through an irritated throat. I've done it. And this whole idea of having a back-up track to enhance the singer's voice--golly, I thought that's what a microphone was for. I understand that pop singers are not trained to project their voice and make full use of their body's resonators in the same way classical singers are. If I told little Ashlee to place her voice in the mask, she'd probably head out to a costume store. But if you can't manage to fill the house while using a microphone, if you need to rely on both amplification and a backup track, then I think that's a sign that you shouldn't be singing professionally. Just my snarky snarky opinion.


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