Here is the last part of my story about how I made it to choir. It is long, but I wanted to tell it with all the details. Here’s where we left off:
I guess my panic was pretty obvious because Sister M said calmly ‘don’t worry, it’s alright, I just wanted to know why you were here.’
‘I just wanted to try out… For the experience… And my friend told me…’ I muttered. Mini was gonna pay for this.
She asked me what chant I had prepared, and for some reason I just stood there, frozen, apparently trying to think of something to sing other than the hymn I had been preparing for days. Why I did that is still I mystery but it sure as hell made me look like I just kind of wandered here by mistake and said ‘oh hey, I know what would be fun, I’ll try out for choir!’
At last, I regained reason and told her what I would be singing. She was going to accompany me with the piano, and she would stop playing at some point to see if I could continue singing with no music.
I was taken aback. I did not know that I would be singing over a piano, and I had never done it before. What if I went horribly off tune? Oh god oh god oh god.
Sister M started playing. I took a deep breath. Then I started singing.
Something strange happened then. It was as though a switch went off inside me. I didn’t know how or why, but suddenly, singing felt like the most natural thing in the world! I couldn’t believe how much better I sounded with the piano. It just seemed to flow out if me effortlessly. Not that I became some sort of Frank Sinatra, but I just thought ‘this is right.’ I started smiling. I almost caught myself laughing at many occasions and quickly stopped myself so that I don’t ruin the song.
I was then asked to do another song. I had not prepared for that. I didn’t even know all the words! I tried my best, and ended up just repeating the chorus, but that’s fine.
Next, I had to sing the notes that Sister M played on the piano. That was to see if I could get the notes right. Sure enough, I did pretty well.
Lastly, it was time for the vocal exercice, in which I have to sing ‘Mééééaaaaiiiiii’ on different – what, keys? I don’t know what these are called. But I know that it kicks up a note every time, and I have to sing it over and over until I can’t reach.
I found it quite fun, and I also had to stop myself laughing there, because it was kinda ridiculous, me standing there with my mouth wide open belting out this sound I only ever heard on Star Academy.
I didn’t reach too high. I guess I looked worried, because then the nun called in a boy who seemed to have been in choir for a long time. She did the same exercice with him, and he could reach the high notes I couldn’t. Was she just showing me that I’m not good enough? I wasn’t very pleased.
But then, she started lowering the notes, and he reached a point where he couldn’t go on. That’s when she asked me to pick up, and I did. It wasn’t hard at all. I kept going down until my voice was just a rumble. So it’s not about singing the highest you can after all.
I finished. She looked at me, and held out her hand.
‘Congratulations! You’re a Bass.‘ She said, smiling.
I took her hand disbelievingly. Is that it? I’m in?!
‘What’s a bass?’ I asked.
‘It’s your vocal type, it means you can sing the lower notes. They’re few here, so it’s great to have an addition.’
So that was it. I’m officially in. I felt so light, so relieved – I made it! How?! It was unreal. All my worries were pointless. Wow!!!
I immediately texted everyone. Told them I wasn’t accepted. Just to mess with them. Especially Mini.
I then started talking with Sister M and the other boy about myself. My grades, where I’m from, my hobbies… I said that I loved listening to music, and playing the piano, but only by ear. So she asked me if I could play and sing something. The first song that popped into my head was Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’. I played the chorus on the piano, rather nervously, because I had never done it in front of anyone before. For the song, I started to sing ‘Wide Awake’ by Katy Perry because I had sung it the day before on karaoke and felt good about it, but I didn’t feel good at all after a few notes so I changed my mind midway and sang ‘Dollhouse’ by Melanie Martinez instead. It was okayish. She noticed that I have a small lisp with the letter S, which I’ve had since I was little, and told me that I should have seen a doctor for it. I don’t think my parents really cared about that.
‘So when do I start?’ I asked.
‘Today. The lesson starts at 4’ she replied.
It was 3:30 now. I’ll wait. I was very excited.
When Mini came, I was standing alone outside, with a very fake frown. I assumed he had gotten my message, because he had an apologetic tone when he asked ‘what happened?’ Aww. After all, he did recommend me. I should be thanking him. Instead, I smiled and said ‘Bass.‘
‘Wait – really?! That’s great, I’m bass too! We’re only like 4 and there are so many tenors (I assumed tenors were the high-singers like that other boy). Sister M told me she’d kill me if I had brought in a new one.’
That was nice to hear. Maybe I wasn’t going to be a useless adition after all.
Moments later other chorists started arriving, and I could tell Mini was right because they seemed happy to know that there was a new bass. When everyone was there at last, we all sat on chairs, each group (Bass, Tenor, Alto [lower-voiced girls] and Soprano [the opposite]) alone.
Sister M started the session by welcoming me into the choir, and I received polite applause from everyone. I didn’t notice this, but I was actually the only one who tried out.
We then went into respiration and relaxation exercices. These were fun.
Not as fun as the vocal exercices, though. These were amazing. Hearing everyone sing at once, it was close to magical. I couldn’t believe I was a part of that.
I had some trouble at first adjusting to the right keys, but I quickly recovered.
Then, it was time to learn a new song. She gave us the music sheets, and each group was off to learn it alone, because as I came to know we don’t all sing the same tunes.
As it was my first time, I had some problems singing the right notes at certain places. But they were all very patient and encouraging with me, not once did they seem annoyed or amused, and they told me that this was a hard song compared to the usual (though I feel like they were just trying to raise my spirits).
But it did pay off, and I finally reached those tricky notes. I felt very pleased with myself.
Usually, after learning a song, we were supposed to sing it all together (the four groups), but that day was an exception because they were having elections for choir president and assistants. The president and his crew from last year had prepared a nice little ceremony involving funny sketches and a buffet, and I thought their spirit was awesome. I was happy to be part of such a community.
I told Mini about that, and he said ‘I know. This is the only place at school that I really like.’
I then understood why he wanted us here. And I’m very, very glad I joined.