I love to sing. I’m a self-confessed serial choir singer – church choirs, community choirs, choral societies and amateur operatics – I’ve joined them all.
I’ve been a member of no less than four choirs since arriving in Melbourne a little over two years ago. But I don’t save my singing for choir practice. Oh no. That would be such a waste of an opportunity. I sing California Dreaming when I’m emptying the bins in my underground car park (wonderful acoustics). I channel my inner Carole King when I’m polishing the furniture (yes, really I do). I sing Daydream Believer when I’m cycling and my words get carried aloft in the breeze.
The one place, oddly, where I don’t sing in is the shower – mainly because I’m in and out like greased lightning. And I sing whenever a phrase or a melody prompts me, just like that line from Grease.
I am the master of the da de das and the dum de dums. Of course, it’s always better if you know the words, but not knowing should never be a barrier to singing out. Or better still, humming along until there comes along the one phrase that you know and you can belt it out with conviction.
COVID-19 certainly cramped my vocal style for a while. Who would have guessed that the innocent act of singing would become such a dangerous activity? Luckily I found a lovely local community choir who practised on Zoom. Because of the issue with feedback over laptop speakers, we were fortunately all muted except for the choir director and his honkytonk piano. I’m not sure what my long suffering neighbours thought but for me it was like like a weekly karaoke session as I blasted out my part in front of my laptop. Magic.
It’s been a bit sobering now that we’re singing together (with masks) and I’ve realised how many wrong notes I’ve been bashing out all those months in joyous solitude. But practice makes perfect.
I blame Julie Andrews. All that running up hills releasing her inner lark made a strong impression on my childish mind – especially as I was being taught by nuns at the time. It’s really just continued from there. Hiking in wide open spaces is especially conducive to singing, provided you’ve got a few like-minded companions who know the words to Girl Guide songs of the late 1960s. Otherwise you can find yourself strangely isolated while your erstwhile friends scurry ahead into the bush.
I am the person you can rely on to sing at weddings and at funerals – while the rest of the congregation is mumbling and hiding their heads in their hymn books, I’m raising the roof (and a few eyebrows). Singing makes me happy, it lifts my spirits and evokes memories. “Those were the days, my friends” as Mary Hopkin, another powerful 1960s role model, sang.