All singing (no dancing)

I’m not much of a singer, but there sure has been a lot of singing going on around my house lately. Like, a lot. 

Both of my kids are in a choir this fall. They’ve been learning songs ranging from Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in preparation for a big performance in mid-November. Excitement levels are high.

Meanwhile, I’ve been taking an audio storytelling course through Duke University’s Center For Documentary Studies. We were assigned to choose a location and use it to create an audio postcard – a short, narration-less audio piece that uses sound and interviews to tell listeners about a place. Since it’s filled with amazing sounds — and I have to go there every week anyway — I decided to send an audio postcard from my kids’ choir practice.

It was great fun. There were so many beautiful songs and cute kids to record. Way too many in fact — it was hard to keep my final piece to the suggested 5 minutes. In the end, I just gave up and let it be the length it wanted to be. You can click here to listen.

But that’s not the only singing that’s been going on around here. I also dropped in on CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera to talk about my most traumatic singing experience ever – the time I was peer pressured into singing “Oh Canada” in a tempura restaurant in a small town in Japan. You can hear that woeful tale right here… I’m about half an hour in, right after former Prime Minister Paul Martin tells a story about singing the exact same song. He had a bigger audience for his performance, but it doesn’t sound like his experience was quite as scarring as mine. 

It was genuinely a life-changing moment. I think it burned out some sort of shame sensor in my brain because I haven’t been nearly that embarrassed about anything since.

Not even during my most recent public singing experience — at my youngest sister’s wedding this past summer where I got up with my middle sister and performed a wobbly rendition of “Sisters” from White Christmas. My two younger sisters did the same for me at my wedding ten years ago, so we decided to make it a tradition.

We were slightly off key and I spilled my drink down my dress. But it’s the effort that counts, right? And we totally nailed that last high note.

You’ll understand, I’m sure, if I don’t post a link to our performance.

The original version by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen is better, anyway. It certainly has a lot more giant feathered fans in it.

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “All singing (no dancing)”

  1. Tanya says:

    Can you send me your mom’s phone number? Cause I think I need to see the video version of that high note. :)

  2. rachel says:

    With any luck, that high note will remain forever buried in the Sanders family archives.

  3. […] I wrote a blog post about the experience and posted the finished audio piece on my website: This is the direct link to the audio story: […]

  4. Sheril Gelmon says:

    HI Rachel,

    I love the combination of interviews and points of view with the songs in the back ground – almost makes me want to join the choir! (ha ha )

    just joking – having 3 / 4 of us in the choir is probably quite enough for Gerda.

  5. rachel says:

    Thanks for listening, Sheril, glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure Gerda would be thrilled to have your whole family in the choir. Especially since the other three are so fantastic! Great performance this afternoon, looking forward to seeing it again this evening!

Leave a Reply