Clearly, this is not a typical problem for me. I would probably (and I definitely have) talked to myself if a set of ears isn’t available. But in this instance, I’m not referring to my talking voice. I’m talking about my singing voice.
Yes. That’s right. I sing.
When I was a little girl I loved to sing. I loved singing (loudly) in my elementary and middle school choruses. I always sang in the school talent shows (solos or duets). I vividly remember begging for singing lessons for Christmas and my birthdays. While I never actually thought I’d be the next Madonna, I was pretty sure I sounded exactly like her when I was singing in the shower.
Sadly, my dreams of dancing and singing on stage with a funnel-shaped bra never panned out. I left singing far behind when I hit high school and never looked back.
When I arrived in Harrogate last summer, my friend Anne introduced me to her choir, the Northern Songbirds. “Do you sing?” she said earnestly. I hemmed and hawed, my singing days almost two decades behind me. “No. I don’t sing.”
But suddenly, I found myself at choir rehearsals and singing at a friend’s 40th birthday party and accompanying a massively popular Yorkshire-based band.
And my life hasn’t been the same since. Not only am I surrounded by these amazingly talented women with incredible personalities and these huge hearts, but I get to be one of them. And among them, with them, I’ve found my voice. I may not always hit every note, and maybe I need to practice reading music a little bit more, but I think I bring something to our little choir and the first sopranos. It’s phenomenal.
So, that’s all the waxing poetic. I started this blog post with one (of many) incredible choir experiences to recount. Before I joined the Northern Songbirds in September, I got to see them perform with Hope & Social (the aforementioned massively popular Yorkshire-based band) during Knaresborough’s feva festival. Little did I know that that performance would be the beginning of a continuing friendship, both personal and professional, between the Songbirds and H&S, and that I would get to be a part of it. Lucky me!
Fast-forward to yesterday, where the Yorkshire Festival, in association with the Grassington Festival, brought Hope & Social to Harrogate as part of the Tour of Infinite Possibility. Of course, the Songbirds were thrilled to be a part of it! We weren’t the only ones involved–dozens of others came out to sing or play an instrument with the Band Anyone Can Join. There were roller girls and ukeleles and other choirs and workshops and drinks and laughs and mistakes and smiles and friendships and…magic. There was magic.
Last night’s performance was amazing. Sure, I definitely “Bop-bop-bop”-ed at the wrong point, prompting James to laugh at me. And I *may* have been told off by Simon for chatting between songs (yes–I’m the American…and yes, I only had one pint pre-show!). But it was incredible. Singing. With an amazing band. In front of a spectacular audience. Surrounded by my closest friends and choir-mates.
What more is there?
Just the Opening Ceremonies for the Tour de France Grand Depart, that’s what.
That’s right. Hope & Social will be performing “The Big Wide,” the Yorkshire Festival’s theme song, live at the event in the Leeds Arena, and it will be broadcast to 3 million people. And they asked us, as part of their Band Anyone Can Join, to join them.
After over twenty years, I’ve found my (singing) voice again. And it feels pretty incredible.