Last night a woman asked me for my autograph.
Not because of my writing. Because of my music.
I am not a “musician.” My friend Brianne? She’s a musician. But I like to play the guitar, and I like to sing. And because of those to interests (notice which one came first) I volunteer in my church’s worship band a couple times a month. Sometimes more.
We have a contemporary service on Saturday night called “Community Worship” (link just added on the right). I like being a part of it, getting to teach new songs to the congregation. (After singing and playing them at least once a week for four consecutive years, I am little tired of songs like “Holiness,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” and the especially overplayed “Better is one Day.”)
Anyway, this week, there was a problem with the schedule: a shortage of vocalists. So since I was already scheduled to play guitar, Alycia (the Coordinator of CW schedules and one of the worship leaders) asked me to also be a vocalist. I normally sing when I play; I have a microphone in front of me. But it is harmony. Even when I sing the melody, there are usually at least two other voices singing with me. You can’t really her me. I know this because my family has complained, “We can’t hear you!”
A woman who also plays the bass was going to do vocals as well. But she, too, usually does the harmony part. And we are both altos. So you can see this was going to be tricky. It ended up that we both sang lead on different songs…but I did the majority. At first I was a little annoyed. I like singing harmony. But then I thought, maybe it is a bit too much in my comfort zone.
In practice I was relatively fine. No big. And in my room…well, I usually belt it out there anyway. But it is a completely different thing when there is a microphone in front of you, and a monitor pointed in your direction so you can actually hear yourself, exactly as you sound. Add in an audience and…you get a bundle of nerves. At least, I did. I was a basket case before we started. I’m always a little nervous, because I don’t want to screw up. And just so you know, it takes coordination to sing and play guitar. Rock stars make it look easy, but it’s not.
I think I mentioned earlier that I like to sing. I do. I’m not someone you would hear and go, “Wow! Someone get her a recording contract!” but I’m also not someone you hear and go, “Is a dog dying somewhere nearby?” Still, I had no choice. I had to usher the congregation into worship. I took a breath, closed my eyes, and let it out.
Afterward, I had people tell me we sounded good. Note the “we,” that’s important. A leader without a band is just…lonely. And the woman who asked for my autograph? No, it wasn’t my mom. But it was a friend of mine. And she really did make me sign a piece of paper.
I guess the point could be that it’s good to stretch yourself; that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Or not to care too much what “everyone” thinks. But actually, there is no moral here. Sorry. I just wanted to tell the story of how I had to sing at CW. That there were people actually listening to my voice and they didn’t boo or leave or throw rotten fruit. You can be told that you’re okay at something, even that you’re good, by people. But when they’re family or friends, I think we all just kinda go “yeah, right” in the back of our minds. Even if the person is a ferociously truthful person. But until you go through a public trial, you never really know.
And so I’m still waiting to be asked for my autograph in my novel.