A Non-Newtonian Fluid (maddening) wrote,
A Non-Newtonian Fluid

I have Alexander's Ragtime Band stuck in my head.
I sang that one year at one of the regional chorus things. Regional chorus was a thing where you had to audition and it gathered select people from all the schools in the region to make up a chorus of about 100 students, divided into alto 1&2, tenor, baritone, bass, and soprano 1&2. 7 part harmony is interesting, lemme tell you. I almost completely blew my audition the first year because you go into a room with 3 judges behind a screen... but I could see their feet. One of them had baggy pantyhose around her ankles and the other had one pant leg pulled up high enough that I could see the top of his goofy, overly tight socks and I started laughing in the middle of my piece. I got myself together and asked if I could start over (something I really wasn't allowed to do) and they let me.

Regional chorus was a strange affair right from the start. You got gathered into a room, given a bunch of music (10 songs usually) which you learned from scratch over the course of 8 hours that day, to be performed the next. I did it two years, 8th and 9th grade. Both years I had a solo. Both years I nearly died from the sheer terror involved in standing with my back to 100 kids my age, facing an audience of about 2,000 people (no shit) and singing all by myself. But I used to have the tapes. The terror wasn't apparent in my voice.
Seems like I was always the shyest person in any of my choral groups, and I was always the one with the solo. I think Mrs. Sharon (who I had a dream about not too long ago) had it in for me in a weird way.
In Treble choir, we had two songs for competition. I had a solo in one. In Madrigals, we had 3 songs for competition, I was part of the 5 person front group for one and had a solo for another.
I used to actually be able to sing. Really.

In high school, doing musicals, we had a professional local theatre guy (Gary Spell) come in and help us tweak the music for Once On This Island becuase the chorus teacher just wasn't cutting it and we sounded like shit. One week with Gary and we were stronger, more together and it actually sounded *good*. I quickly began to resent him, though, when we'd do one on ones and he'd make everyone else stop what they were doing and make me sing and say "just like that, I want that tone, that rounding of the vowels... good job, Holly, as always"
Always the fucking teacher's pet in one way or another. Apparently I bring that out in teachers. It's happened far too often.
Anyway... out of the blue, Alexander's Ragtime Band is stuck in my head, incongruous right up against the other songs that stick in my memory from that year... Steam Heat, Follow The Drinking Gourd, Cantante Domino...
Having a goofy ragtime band made out of prepubescent voices running right into a spooky underground railroad song is uh .. yeah.
Probably no weirder for me than usual... but still odd.

And, usually I sang alto. So most of the songs I learned I have a hard time singing in anything other than the harmony. Which, if you've ever heard *just* the harmony to a song, you should know it sounds like shit. Monotone star spangled banner. Literally just one note until the last verse where you take over the harmony and the sopranos shift up an octave and the baritones shift a half step down so it gets all goose bumpy when everyone hits it just right.
We were a really damned good madrigal group too... so we got that goosebumpy thing a lot.

Not that madrigal singing is uh ... super or anything... but at the time I was doing it, it was great.

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