Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Misrepresented Talent Dearth - Part 1

          I remember as a child that my mother would always try to make life more fun.  She still does too.
          All of Mom’s family lives in Metropolis and we always lived in Paducah; and for the majority of my life, the outskirts of Paducah in Reidland. Mom would sing us these goofy little songs and play games with us on that dreaded thirty minute drive to Illinois. (Thirty minutes is forever in the car with three kids.) Songs about witches and fish, she never ran out, and that’s one thing I’m so glad my boys are getting to inherit from her.
          I think that the root of my musical talent (if you want to call it that) comes from her and these goofy kids songs. As a kid, I never was one for listening to music. We would sing, but my sister always wanted the radio on, and I always wanted it off. It just wasn’t my thing until I hit Middle School.  I developed a taste for “grunge” music in my 7th grade year: Nirvana, Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden among others. While listening to the Stone Temple Pilots CD ‘Purple’ on day I discovered that I could sing along pretty well with Interstate Love Song. I even remember calling my sister into the bedroom I shared with my little brother and singing for her and her saying I was good. To my recollection, that’s the first time singing ever seemed like more than just something fun to do with Mom.
          Several years later, Sarah and I would go to school early on Thursdays for prayer group. We would sit in the choir room and sing devotional songs and again, I realized I wasn’t terrible at this whole singing thing. The choir teacher, Mrs. Seltzer, even took notice and asked me one day about being in choir. Heck, Sarah was in and she enjoyed it, why not give it a shot? So I joined choir. At first, it was a miserable experience. I was in there with a bunch of guys who didn’t care that I was there and Mrs. Seltzer had, being unfamiliar with my voice, made me a Bass singer. Riiiiiight.
          Once I finally had the courage to talk to Mrs. Seltzer about me either quitting after Christmas or switching to Tenor, things got much better. (My memory on that is fuzzy – Sarah may have initiated that conversation.) The second semester went by much better and, vocally, I fell into a much better place and even got to show off a bit in our annual choir program called Collage with my barbershop style quartet called Close Harmony. (It wasn’t.)
          The next year gave us a new choir teacher at our school and it was my senior year. Ms. Buhlig came in to a rough classroom. Mrs. Seltzer had been there for years and she had a loyalty from her students, so when Ms. Buhlig came in and started to change things away from the Seltzer way, students started dropping like flies. Was it fair? Absolutely not, but its high school. With it only being my second year, I had no real loyalty to get in the way, and I realized that the people that were dropping the class either weren’t talented, or were jerks, so it didn’t bother me a bit.

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