Dear Neighborhood Rocks,
Thank you. And sorry. And EEEEEEEEEEEEE!
My whole life I’ve loved to sing. I remember belting out Peabo Bryson’s “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again,” and feeling the emotion of every word. This time, I’ll hold you foreverrrrrr! There was a small window of time where I thought I was a great singer, until my brother secretly recorded me singing. When he played the tape for me, I didn’t realize the wobbly, squawky voice was mine. I laughed with him until I realized I was the butt of the joke. Ever since, I internalized that I am a Bad Singer.
The idea of me joining a singing group was about as likely as me becoming a hip hop dancer on So You Think You Can Dance (another dream, another story). You can’t join a singing group if you can’t sing, duh. And yet, here we are.
Last season, Matty and Hazy joined your “rockin’ multigenerational choir” after Haze told me “singing makes me happy” and I bullied the one non-tone deaf parent in our household into joining the group with her. They crushed it at the end of season concert (I may have cried a little), and the presence of a stage and spotlight inspired George to want to join the next season. Somehow we decided we’d all do it. It’ll be a family activity! Something we can all do together! No one will notice you’re tone-deaf, Natasha! Then, through a sequence of events (George realized it wasn’t all performing on stage, scorns practice of any kind, and Matty saw an out), it ended up being just Hazy and me in the group.
So here we are.
You: While you sing fun songs like “Rocket Man” and “Video Killed the Radio Star,” you are a legit singing group with tenors, basses, altos and sopranos. There are harmonies and key changes and octaves and it’s not at all like shower singing, or my speciality–car singing with high volume backup CD.
Me: Tone deaf with an extremely limited octave range, little to no musical knowledge despite 8 years of playing the violin (poorly), and an embarrassing lack of rhythm. I didn’t even know if I was a soprano or an alto, just that my best karaoke song is Total Eclipse of the Heart, Old School (Dan Band) version, mostly because I dramatically kick over a stool in the middle of it. My greatest musical achievement to date was winning my office’s Connelly Idol karaoke competition in my sixth year of competing and I’m 98% sure it was a pity vote by the judges.
So thank you. Thank you for encouraging this Bad Singer to join, despite my frequent and passionate warnings. Thank you for bringing me so much joy every Sunday at rehearsal when I get to hear all these beautiful voices drown mine out. Thank you for not visibly cringing when I “sing,” and for not amending the lyrics to “When You Want To Sing Out” to add, “*unless you’re Natasha, then maybe don’t sing out.”
And I’m sorry. I’m sorry I don’t know the difference between a scoop and a pause. I’m sorry I can’t clap on the beat, except when we’re supposed to be clapping a quarter note off the beat. And I’m sorry the collective voice of Neighborhood Rocks is slightly off-key when my voice is a part of it.
And finally, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Do you have any idea how fun it is to get to do something that you never dared dream you could do? I feel like Billy Elliott when he finally got to dance the BAL-lay or Dumbo when he finally learns to fly.
I DO want to sing out, Neighborhood Rocks, and I will, thanks to you.
p.s. So You Think You Can Dance, I’ll be in touch. I took a hip hop class around 2002; I can’t pop or lock and I tend to go in the opposite direction of everyone else, but hey, you never know. I am in Neighborhood Rocks, after all.