southern gospel music is certainly more than meets the eye/ear. it’s a culture i appreciate more now, i respect more now, i’m excited about more now…
i sang today during performance training. it’s during this section that allison durham speer lets you sing then critiques you or critiques you while you’re singing. i was really nervous. it’s been so long since someone’s really critiqued my singing and i don’t record myself in performance so i have nothing to use for self critique (which i’m somewhat happy for b/c i hate hearing myself sometimes). i sat and waited for my turn. the more i waited, the more my nerves took over. smile. relax. think peaceful thoughts. it’s going to be fine. just have worship. just praise God in this place. just pretend this is a regular performance. but don’t show off. don’t think you’re all that. be humble. you’re here to learn.
thought after thought calmed me down then got my heart up to 85 mph (my favourite driving speed). i was glad that i got to go after so many others. i was second to last. i got to hear things that could help my performance. and then…
she introduced me, i walked onto the stage, mic in hand. the music began and i looked over the audience wondering if i should speak through the intro or just continue looking. then she stopped the music, asked me to come back down. i thought i’d done something wrong, walked wrong, looked wrong. (yesterday, a young girl who is sexy without trying and has a beautiful low voice, had a shirt that would come up just above her belt as she sang and just barely show her belly. allison got up there and pulled on her shirt as she sang her heart out. it was funny but also a bit embarrassing. i wore a long skirt with a top that clearly covered my belly but i kept on wondering if the skirt showed too much curve. it’s a-lined and can’t help but let you know i have a rear end. but it doesn’t cling. how much should women do to ensure that men don’t lust after our bodies? i know for a fact that i can be in a sack and still a man’s thoughts go where they shouldn’t. but anyway, i digress……..)
allison said we should practice getting into position as the music plays. this made me happy. less time to have to look at the audience pretending/trying to connect without a fake smile. the music began again. i made my way up the steps and onto the stage, turned around with just enough time to look out, bring the mic to my mouth, and commence.
initially, i couldn’t hear myself well in the monitor (this is why soundcheck is so vital! but not possible for these performances) so my first few notes didn’t seem that stable to me. i dismissed the thought and kept on singing, reminding myself that i was simply up there to minister, not to show off, not to prove anything, not to simply give folks what they’ve waited for (when will the black girl sing? i’m the darkest thing here!). so i concentrated on the words, their meaning to my life, and gave it all my heart. my chords have been hurting since i haven’t sung this much since my sophomore year of college and i haven’t sung consistently and properly since high school. i was worried that even though the song is low (were it not for grace as sung by larnell harris), i would struggle with it. when i started hitting the highest notes and not feeling any strain, i couldn’t help but praise God in my mind. my praise must have come through. people were blessed.
apparently i sound like lynda randal…surprise, surprise. i’m a woman, i sing low and i’m black. it’s the easiest comparison. i’m not offended. i just don’t think we sound the same. she has different colour in her voice…i think.
but that aside, allison gave me nothing but compliments. i was wishing for a negative. at least say i could do something better. i’ll ask her tonight for more feedback. i must admit, however, that i’m so used to singing low and slow that the true test will come with a fast song. i’m honestly tired of hearing just positive. in order to grow i feel as if i need some harsh but constructive feedback.
so that’s been part of my day so far. i’m so tired and i wish they’d give us an afternoon off. everyone seems a bit weary.
something fun: i went to lunch with a couple of guys from my theory class and a couple of girls from the neighboring theory class. there’s a fabulous place called arnolds that has good southern cuisine. for 7 bucks i had some nice eats and also got a chance to get to know some folks a bit better. it’s all about being real and loving people in spite of….and finding positive things to talk about. it’s amazing how much energy we spend talking about the negative. for example, we spent a while in the blazing sun and dreadful humidity yesterday, getting ready for a group picture. as our shirts turned in colour from the ginormous amounts of sweat dripping down our sides, fronts and backs, folks started complaining, as is our natural tendency.
i challenge you with this. don’t be natural. don’t just do things just b/c. and don’t think you’re above that. just because you’ve left high school or college doesn’t mean you no longer complain unnecessarily. if you can’t control the situation, make the best of it. learn something through it.
don’t be natural and just do a job b/c it pays your bills. don’t be natural and just…