Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Well, Hello There!

Where does one start?

Well, 'let's start at the very beginning - a very good place to start' as someone once sang . . . .

Once there was a child - a 10 year old child, who was assigned the task of reading a lesson in his school's monthly church service. Being a Church of England school he made regular visits to church (unlike today's kids it would seem) and for some bizarre reason he had volunteered to read a lesson. He was not entirely sure why he stuck his hand up when his teacher asked for a volunteer, but volunteer he did. And he immediately regretted it! The Big Day duly arrived and up he strolled, knees knocking together in terror! He started to deliver the uninspiring Bible passage and all seemed to be going well until he lost his place momentarily and read out one particular line twice. Realising his error he stopped in horror for what seemed to him to be about half an hour but in reality was probably only a couple of seconds. To him it was a humiliating disaster and he finished his piece with "thanks be to God" and returned to his seat distraught. No-one in the church noticed any mistake at all, or so they said, but he took that to mean they weren't even listening, which somehow seemed to make the whole affair even worse.

Anyway, I relate this tale because the child in question was me and the experience was to shape my entire life. To this day, at the ripe old age of 50, I remain in fear of public speaking or communicating with large groups of people in any way. If I ever manage to study Geology as I wish to (see my other Blog - 'Holey Schist), I will have to conquer this fear in order to present papers of geological research, so there's a major hurdle to overcome at some stage. When I look back over my 50 years, there are so many things that I've avoided, so many things that I have 'bottled out' of doing, just to avoid the prospect of standing up in front of people.

Such as singing for example!

Like a lot of young lads, I used to dream of being the lead singer in a rock band. I  loved the gravelly voice of Lemmy from Motorhead and the extraordinary vocal ranges of Rob Halford from Judas Priest and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. But singing would mean standing up in front of people, so was an absolute 'non-starter' for that reason alone. The prospect of singing, in public at least has therefore remained forever buried. Until now!

Perhaps at this point I need to paint a picture of my family. Firstly there's my lovely wife Ruth, currently learning to sing herself and poised to undertake exams in singing under the expert guidance of her sister Caroline, a classical singer of immense talent (more on her later). Then there is my eldest step-daughter Anna-Ruth, who only discovered a year or so ago that she could sing and is now a member of 'Enchanted', a local singing group of 'young ladies' led by Caroline and who are gaining quite a reputation in the East Midlands! For a sample of what these talented girls have to offer see the 'You Tube' link in the right-hand column of this Blog. Add to this my youngest step-daughter Amy who is also learning to sing, also taking exams and also has a splendid voice, you will begin to see that the best option for me would be to give up any thoughts of resistance and to simply join in the fun!

Just a few weeks ago, we went along to see Enchanted perform in a concert in Kegworth, along with the Loughborough Male Voice Choir. The girls were in superb voice, as were the 'lads'  of the male voice choir and it was a really enjoyable evening. The concert's programme notes included a plea for 'new blood' and said that anyone interested, could just pop along to any Thursday night rehearsal and have a go! No audition is required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to 'work at it'. As the arm twisting began from wife, sisters-in-law, daughter and choir leader, I partially relented and  agreed to perhaps go along. Maybe. . . ?

Well, I thought about it and realised that singing was something I'd always meant to maybe one day have a go at', but for a multitude of reasons, never quite got round to it. Perhaps it's a sort of 'mid-life crisis' type thing, but I do rather think I need to just get on and try these things while I've still got my faculties! Study geology, learn to sing, whatever? You only live once allegedly, so I'd better have a shot. Nothing ventured. . . . ?
So a month ago I went along to my first rehearsal with the Loughborough Male Voice Choir. More on that interesting experience later!

Cheers for now,

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