One time years ago in church, the person sitting next to me said, “Ew, you sing alto.” Well, she may not have actually said the “ew”, but it was implied. Obviously, being an alto was somehow less than, and since then, I have tried to sing soprano. Not the wildly high notes that sound like angels, just the notes that make up the melody. It usually never works.
In church, I start out singing the hymn’s melody and inevitably have to drop an octave half way through. I can sing a lot of country music songs –I can belt out some mean Tammy Wynette — but most other songs are usually a bust. This is wildly frustrating, because I love music and I want to help make a joyful noise. Mostly, though, I just end up making noise.
Until yesterday. I signed up for a singing class at The Wellness Center in town. There’s about eight women in the class, most of them sopranos. I’ve always known I’m supposed to be singing alto, but I’ve never learned how, and have spent years failing in a vocal range where I don’t belong. Our teacher gave me some guidance, and for the first time in my life, I successfully sang the alto part of Amazing Grace, standing happily next to a fellow alto. I even managed a duet with a soprano. I couldn’t believe I was actually able to contribute to a beautiful sound. Score.
Always the overachiever, I’m going to work hard at extending my vocal range. But in the meantime, now that I’m where I belong, I can play to my strengths. It’s nice to feel great satisfaction instead of defeat when singing a tune. Now, one of my favorite songs from the great Tammy Wynette. And who knows? I may post my own version on YouTube one day soon.