With the Labour Day weekend a new year begins. School starts again, people are back from vacation and things get busy. At church the choir starts back up, various programmes get started again and life gets busy and back up to full speed. In Ontario this year we have our provincial election.
One of the things I look forward to in the fall is choir starting again. The first rehearsal was on Thursday and today was the first service back. One of the pieces we sang this morning I hadn’t seen before Thursday, and the other I had never sang before as a first tenor. I have said it before, and I will say it again, that singing in the choir has helped me with transitioning my speaking voice. Singing in a choir, and singing in general, helps with control of pitch, placement of the voice and breathing. When singing one is conscious of the sound being produced, something that is critical in transitioning one’s voice.
I am blessed with a good vocal range, on the upper end I hit the A above middle C and on the lower end can reach the G or even the F at the bottom of the bass clef. In years past I could even get as low as an E, but I have not tried in quite some time. Prior to last September I had always sung baritone or bass singing first or second as required. When I was in Toronto and Gananoque I sang bass in the church choir, I was also part of the Cantabile Men’s Chorus in it’s inaugural season singing baritone. From January to May 2010 I sang bass at St. John’s in Ottawa. Most of what I know is singing baritone/bass. With singing new music the switch to tenor isn’t a problem, one gets used to reading the different line fairly quickly. Singing familiar music, however, is different. I find that I tend to gravitate to the part that I know, the music, the rhythm, the notes. For music that is very familiar, that I can do pretty much from memory as a bass, it takes extra effort not to go into automatic and ignore the sheet music and just sing what I know. Re-learning this music, while a challenge, will only help strengthen me as a musician and, who knows, maybe one day I’ll end up singing bass again for a few things if needed.