Choir: (n) an organized group of singers
I found that being in a choir squashed my desire to be heard. Yes, you have to be willing to blend.
Matter of fact, they talk about “the blend”–that particular sound that a group of singers makes which is supposedly unique unto them.
It is fairly restrictive. Even the names are:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: “To sing, I have to be Mormon, get directions to the tabernacle, and then hide my voice among other song birds. I am en-caged.”
I felt this in high school.
When I quit the football team because I discovered they made fat boys run, I realized that my second-greatest interest other than tackling running backs was singing. It seemed logical to join the choir, since that was the avenue afforded to me on the thoroughfare of musical expression.
I hated choir. Nobody could hear me sing. They commented on “the blend,” or applauded the musical director, or noted how the robes looked so good.
It drove me nuts.
So in rehearsal one day, in a fit of rebellion and pending insanity, I just started singing another song from my standing position in the choir, while the rest of the parakeets tweeted out the prepared number.
My voice was strong, but certainly not powerful enough to overcome the mass musical. But it was annoying enough that the director kept tilting her head, leaning in with squinting eyes, trying to determine what was disrupting her “blend.” I just kept singing a different song–a little quieter, but with enough volume to create frustration on the face of the conductor.
After a few moments, she took her baton and tapped it violently against the music stand, stopping the proceedings.
“Is everybody singing the same song?” she bellowed to the gathered.
Those standing closest to me, who heard my little interpretation, turned in unison and gazed in my direction.
I was caught. The director peered at me intensely and said, “Were you singing a different song?”
I paused–not so much to make it seem like I was making up a story, but just to express my alarm. Then I replied, “I thought we were doing Number Eight in the program.”
I don’t think she believed me, but she played along.
“No,” she said. “It’s Number Seven. I’m sorry if I did not make that clear.”
“You’re forgiven,” I replied in my snootiest voice.
She nearly lost all sensibility. Glaring at me, she said tersely, “Thank you.”
We resumed singing, and I couldn’t help myself. Once we had gotten a chorus of the song in, I reverted back to my former tune, which was completely alternative to “the blend.”
This time she stopped and used her baton to point toward the door as she screamed, “Get outta here!”
There were giggles and whispers as I made my way out, escaping the class. Fortunately for me, she was not specific about where I should get–so since I was told to be punished, I just went early to have a leisurely lunch.