The choir in our ward is excellent. We have a well-trained director and gobs of talented singers. As with every ward I’ve been in for the last 15 years, I’m a member. And as with every ward choir I’ve been in for the last 15 years, I don’t really love it.
Here is the problem: I’m male, I have a degree in music, I have a pretty good vocal range so I can cover bass or tenor parts, I can sing in tune, and I can sight read the vast majority of music they throw at me. It’s a bad combination really – I feel too guilty to keep my musical training a secret (too many lessons warning against “burying my talent” I guess) and every ward choir needs more men who can cover the parts. The problem is that while I find performing with choirs enjoyable, I don’t really dig rehearsing with choirs.
So you can already see why I call myself a prima donna; by my musical self-description I probably fit the general definition as “A temperamental, conceited person”. But it is worse than you think. Over the years I have concocted a coping strategy that I probably should feel guilty about but I don’t: Basically I ditch most rehearsals and just show up for gigs.
When I first concocted this strategy several years ago I thought it would work to get me out of singing in the choir all together. I usually come up with excuses why I can’t make rehearsals and then explain that I will completely understand if my non-rehearsing means I shouldn’t sing at the gigs. But it has never worked once. The choir directors always still want me to sing at church with them (rehearsals or not). I suppose this mostly has to do with the fact that male singers are hard to come by. It is a supply and demand thing.
The sad thing is that I am not even the best singer in our marriage. Kristen’s voice is a beautiful instrument (she successfully competed in vocal competitions as a young woman) while mine is probably best suited for punk rock. But not once in our nearly 14 years of marriage has she been pursued for a ward choir. There are always gobs of women lined up (talented or not) to sing in the choir. And since I always get recruited and we have little kids she can’t even volunteer without creating logistical difficulties for our family.
So I continue to chip in. And I continue to ditch too many rehearsals. I actually did feel guilty that the temporary choir director had to stop by the house before church this week to give me the music to look at before the performance later that afternoon – but then again I also really liked staying home with the fam instead of going to rehearsal. I chalk it up to the family filter. So far it is working out – I miss a few rehearsals and they still get a solid tenor or bass at performances (depending on what they need that week). I’m still half-hoping one of these days they will get sick of my prima donna behavior and just not invite me anymore. (I’d probably come crawling back if that happened… especially in this choir because it happens to be exceptionally good…) But if history is any indicator, I won’t hold my breath…
PS – In case it is not clear — this is just a tongue-in-cheek poke at myself for being a lazy slob… The folks in our current ward choir are loads of fun and highly talented. The fact is that this ward choir is the best I’ve ever been in or even seen in my time in the church so if any of y’all are reading (and I sorta doubt anyone in my ward will read this) please take this as the self-deprecating joke it was intended to be and don’t actually kick me out of the choir!