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Happy birthday to jonesiexxx!

It may be a grey and drizzly day today, but this will not detract from my good mood, for which I have 2 very distinct reasons. The first of which is this: passing by a field on my way to the shops earlier, my heart leapt when I saw the storks had returned from wherever it is they spend the winter, and were busy foraging for frogs.

(I looked it up: apparently, a group of these birds is called 'a muster' or 'phalanx of storks').

I also looked up where the word 'stork' came from; from Proto-Germanic sturkuz, Modern English stark, it is believed to be a description of the birds' general appearance. The etymology of the Dutch word, 'ooievaar', can be explained to mean he wades in swampland.

The second reason is that I will be a soloist in this year's Easter Vigil Mass.

Last autumn, I joined the church choir, after various members as well as the two conductors of it had been pestering me for months. They believed that a lector who reads with such a 'melodious' voice (their word, not mine) would automatically be able to sing as well. Initially, I was very sceptical; but in the end, I let myself be persuaded to audition, thinking that if they heard me sing, they'd realise their mistake and that would be the end of it.

In primary school, our headmaster was also our music teacher. I was 6 when I sang for him. He sent me to the speech therapist, convinced there was something wrong with me. The speech therapist sent me straight back to school with a message for the headmaster that there was nothing she could or even needed to do, as I did not have an impediment - I just had a low voice. Mr. Lina then told me that my voice was all wrong for singing, and wouldn't allow me to open my mouth in any of the school's plays, musicals or recitals. Instead, he gave me the stupid woodblock to play.

Our church's choir masters/mistress teach at the Royal Conservatory. When nervously I sang for them, 45 years after Mr. Lina had told me I didn't have the apparatus for singing, they heard something they liked: a woman who could sing the tenor part. And it just so happened that our choir was low on tenors...really low. In actual fact, there was only one. Sopranos, apparently, are a dime a dozen, and the same goes for the basses. Altos are in shorter supply, but we still have 6 or 7. But tenors are really sought after, and not just in our choir, I'm told.

Anyway, to cut a long story short: even though I still can't read a note of music, I'm getting so much enjoyment out of singing, that the prospect of getting up in front of 1,200 people and leading the choir as a soloist on this one festive occasion doesn't faze me at all. In fact, I'm very much looking forward to it.


( 10 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 6th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
How wonderful to discover a gift like that! It's amazing how long someone's careless or unkind words can stick with you, and I'm glad you found a place where you can really shine.
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
How wonderful to discover a gift like that!

I know - I still cannot quite believe that there are people willing to listen to me sing, but I'm grateful to be getting this opportunity ;-)

Edited at 2014-04-06 08:07 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2014 03:36 pm (UTC)
How wonderful to finally realise that you have a wonderful voice rather than a useless one - and how awful for that teacher, so long ago, to not only realise that you simply had a low register, but to belittle you so much.

Also - nice to see the storks.
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
If I hadn't taken my headmaster's judgment as gospel truth all those years ago, I might have discovered the joy of singing a lot sooner -- who knows, I might even have become an opera singer! (though I doubt it).

I'm glad I've discovered them now, though. I don't even mind that nowadays, most of my Friday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons are taken up with rehearsals and performances.
Apr. 6th, 2014 03:52 pm (UTC)
Well, curses upon your primary school headmaster, but good for you! (I have a low voice too - my yoga om is distinctly more with the guys than the women, but, eh, I'm too old to be self-conscious about it now.)

So envious of your storks. I've seen them in the wild only a couple of times (in Alsace mostly), and we only just got a breeding pair back in the UK after a few hundred years of not.
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:25 pm (UTC)
Storks were quite a rare sight here too in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up, but ever since the Council became more green in its outlook, from the 80s onwards the population has made a remarkable recovery.

Which is only right, considering my fair hometown's crest or coat of arms proudly displays -- a stork.
Apr. 6th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
A pox on that headmaster's house! Terrible thing to tell a small child and I'm surprised that your parents didn't have his hide. I can clearly remember being told off for pointing out that one of my fellow pupils was tone deaf and singing next to her was like fingernails on a blackboard - that it was my problem, not hers, and the teacher was right. You don't give a child a complex about anything, it can stay with them for life. (I avoided being next to that girl in future singing lessons - solved my problem completely, and while I'm sure in time she learnt that she was tone deaf, at least she wasn't given a complex about it at school)

As an aside, I have a friend who is an unusally low singer, so you are not alone. (she's a really low talker as well)

I was in Turkey in April 1997 and there was large population of stork nesting on an aqueduct in the town of Selcuk. I remember being surprised by their size, having never seen one before. Pretty sure they don't come to Australia at all.
Apr. 7th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Mr. Lina died a long time ago, and I can't be angry at him. It's all so long ago now, and I'm sure he didn't mean to scar me for life! Oh well.

Apr. 7th, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
Lovely news about the storks!

What a heart-warming story in the end for you. It makes me happy, too. :-)
Apr. 7th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
The storks are pretty amazing, real harbingers of spring!
( 10 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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