Saturday, April 23, 2016

Soft Seats

I used to sing, no longer sing, yet I've admitted my secret desire to be a MOTAB singer; but the honest truth is I'm afraid of choirs.

It seems like I've always been the out-of-sync fish in a school of fish, the one that misses the sudden, sharp turn of the pack, and ends up in the mouth of a shark.

Before I considered my out of sync-ness, the church choir was strongly soliciting for extra singers for a big church meeting-- a stake conference. It seems they didn't have enough people and Tony used the magic words, soft seats.

The meeting will take place in the old American Fork tabernacle with punitive pews. The tabernacle was completed in 1914 for the small sum of $80,000 (because they skimped on the pews). Made of solid oak, the craftsman must have had a devil of a time wrestling them into even a moderately user-friendly bench shape. People must have been much more tolerant of concrete-to-the-touch pews, back in the days before mankind was spoiled by bean bag chairs and bolts of cuddle-up fleece. People didn't slouch back then and the name couch potato had yet to be invented. People were smaller too. The benches must have been tolerable when they could fit.

The choir director is a master, the creator of the song Consider the Lilies of the Field, and in one temptation of alliteration, soft seats, I succumbedIt wasn't until almost a week later when I realized what I done. How did I have the audacity to volunteer to sing in his choir?

"It's an easy song," Tony insists.

"What if they ask me to go home, or just mouth the words."

"If you hit a wrong note, he'll definitely call you out on it, but ever so nicely."

The public humiliation that awaits me.

Then the memory and the root of all my fears hit.

When I remember, it's as if I were still a twelve year old girl back in Barbara Lee's youth choir created for another big meeting.We'd had a few practices and she had been very firm and explicit about not breathing in between two very certain notes.

On the night of the real performance, we stood up, she lifted her baton, got very serious, and we began. All was well, until I took the sharp turn into the mouth of a shark. I'd taken a breath in the place we were explicitly told not to. I'd missed it. I felt foolish, but at least she was looking at the other side of the choir. But when she heard that one out of sync breath, her eyes darted back to me. The look was debilitating. My choir life was over, until Tony mentioned soft seats.