Women’s Singing Night went live today for the first time, well, ever. Rather than our Wednesday night potluck and wine gathering, we met at noon in downtown SmallTown, NC at the Episcopal Church. We were invited to sing as a part of lunch hour series that encourages dialogue about creativity.
I arrived early and was greeted by the entire Montessori elementary school. The cheers and shrieks from the playground as they saw me pull up were about enough to make my heart melt. But I had to hold off any sentimentality and focus, trying to fend off my nervousness.
I haven’t “performed” in any formal “choral” situation since my one and only year in middle school choir. I only lasted a year, first of all, because I preferred brass instruments to vocal chords at the time. And second, because everyone teased that I was a lesbian because I always sat next to Stephanie Goldberg. Stephanie had near perfect pitch, and I didn’t. I needed her voice in my ear more than anything and was willing to take the ridicule to get through the class. But come registration time a year later, I wasn’t about to subject myself to that pain again.
History aside, the further down the playlist we got, the more relaxed I became. I was keenly aware that I could not have performed without the vote of confidence gained from all these previous months of informal practice. And if a surge of nervousness pumped through my veins, I could look up and see row after row of chubby-cheeked kindness emanating from the little hearts that came to hear the singing. There could have been no better gift than the gift of their presence.
Next Tuesday (Halloween!), we perform at the coffeehouse, then back to our regular in-house informal gatherings which I miss already. I remind myself that the purpose of our singing is to explore a different form of creativity and to share that form. Each woman in the group is an artist in her own write, working with letterpress, print, painting, photography, papermaking, drawing, words, and metals. The singing is our vocal yoga, if you will, and the performing – I’ve recently learned – is meant to inspire the stretching of thoughts and creative habits for those that have a willingness to listen.