You haven’t known true fear until you’ve been staring down the barrel of a funky chorus surrounded by experienced singers.
That was my predicament on Friday in Reid Hall.
When the funky chorus nears and you know you’re tasked with approaching it (in all it’s royal funkiness) with the required level of pizzazz and enthusiasm, the piano starts to melt and mould into a monstrous blob of macabre blabber. It becomes a a sassy Jabba the Hut, and you’re Leia in a gold bikini of nerves.
Or at least that’s what you worry until you start singing – then the shackles break.
Whether it was Neil Metcalfe’s calm teaching technique, which included describing the voice in terms of a household vacuum cleaner, or the age old notion that nothing’s really as bad you first think, my first experience with a choir was a lovely one.Perched on the edge of my chair, around the imposing piano, with my shaking songsheet held tight like Chamberlain’s “Peace in our times” I was of course, hesitant, to truly let go and practice sob or tenor or falsetto or belt or any of the varieties of song we learned over the introductory afternoon session held by the Edinburgh University Music Society.
Every new song though, I felt my vague humming, like a tired microwave, becoming aware and nuanced and my footsteps becoming lighter (Was I enjoying it? I must have been) as words of wisdom settled and an atmosphere of jovial encouragement grew.
And though I doubt that I “Discovered My Voice!” during the terrifying, giddy event, I do confess that I discovered some sort of uncynical admiration for people who gather and sing and groove for a good time – for once, without booze.
It was a throwback, a nostalgiabomb. And I downed it in one.