How can I keep from singing?

Sweet Georgia Brown
Sweet Georgia Brown


My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been singing.  I don’t mean professionally, but you know.. singing.  I remember singing my heart out in church (yes, church…it was the only reason I liked to go).    I have recordings of me singing in chorus in elementary school.  I have tapes (yes, tapes.  Kids, ask your parents) of me from “Soundtracks” which was this cool place in the mall.  Other kids wanted to shop and I’m begging my mom to take me to the mall to SING. At Soundtracks, you would go into a recording booth, you’d jam headphones (kids, ask your parents) on your head and you’d hear music in your ears and they would record you singing along.    It’s sort of like karaoke.. which I also did in dive bars in my 20s.  Yes, I know.  LB says that I sing around the house all the time.  I don’t even know I’m doing it, it’s so much a part of who I am.

I was in Chansonnettes and Troubadours when I was in high school. (which we called C&T because otherwise, what a mouthful, amirite?  I’m also pretty convinced that’s not spelled right)

Please witness my 1990's hair
Please witness my 1990’s hair

C&T was the after school chorus you had to audition for.  I loved it so much.  I think somewhere around here is a VHS (kids, ask your parents)  of “SongFest” and I’m 99% I had a solo.  I’m also 99% sure there is at least one flat note in there so I’m not going to listen to it.

Putting on that robe to perform was one of the highlights of my teenage years (I was 16 in this picture and totally and fully committed to that hair).

The robe is kind of like your costume.  You knew what you were expected to do, and what people expected you to do when you were wearing it.  It was your magic cape to protect you from all the abuses of the world, the anxiety of not knowing what was the “right thing” to do.  You knew what to do.  You would sing and people were there to hear you.

And the most amazing thing was raising your voices with other people who wanted to be there too.  My fellow geeks, being unafraid to open our mouths knowing that it was a judgement free zone.

That, my friends, is a huge gift for those of us who have “foot in mouth disease” which is so much more fatal when you are 16.

In my 20s, I was looking to regain some of that magic so I joined Mohawk Valley Chorus, and had a wonderful time. They are the reason I got to go to England, Scotland and Wales in one glorious (and slightly drunken) 14 day trip.  I loved singing with them and I learned so much from John Nethaway who was their director at the time.

Somewhere along the line, I got busy with life and forgot about singing.  I moved in with LB in Albany and driving to Amsterdam was just too much to do all the damn time.  I mean, I still would sing in the shower (who doesn’t?) and sort of half ass sing around the house.

I don’t know why but a month or so ago, I got it in my head to contact Capitaland Chorus to see about joining.  I’ve been to two rehearsals to watch and I cannot begin to tell you how it feels to be surrounded by people who sing.  The first rehearsal, I got to sing along a bit (I had music to follow) and the pure joy that it brought to raise my voice with others and become one voice.. it… I just.. I don’t know how to express it.

I was invited to join the chorus for a special coaching session with Cy Wood, who was just a joy to watch and to watch the chorus work with him on choreography.  I didn’t have to stay all day, but I totally did.  It was just so much where I wanted to be.

I don’t make friends easily.  But I really felt like I was surrounded by my “tribe”.

Saturday night, I watched this amazing group of people perform.  And I can’t wait to be an official part of them.