When I was a teenager I had the world's loudest father when it came to singing in church. The bench would actually vibrate during the long notes. He was a tenor and someone with musical training once told him that with some tutoring he actually could be good one day. Maybe a 'tenor contender' so to speak. I think he was a bit offended at the 'could be good' part. His over-the-top self confidence had already confirmed his goodness in singing. He certainly wasn't shy about belting it out loud and clear. I was completely embarrassed by him. Not only in his singing but in his overly friendly manor with everyone. Didn't matter who, people he knew or people he'd come across on the street. He'd chat with people for way too long. I never wanted to be seen with him in public. Perhaps that is normal for a teenager though.
My Father used to encourage me to sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong. Not to worry if it wasn't good enough for anyone else to hear- Just sing! I told him I would start to sing with him in church if I could hear myself. It was our private deal that I would sing if he would tone it down so that I could be heard. It was a win/win in my book because I wasn't so embarrassed, and I started to develop my own voice.
In high school I joined the a capella choir and enjoyed myself quite a bit. I didn't join until my senior year though so I had no time to really move up in the ranks to the cherished, showy, overly important chamber choir. Even though I suspected I was every bit as good as those snotty-pants singers I never let it show in front of them. I knew my place as a beginner. I was shocked when on tour I overheard one of the chamber singers rehearsing on the bus and it was revealed to me how off key she sounded. She really had to work on her performance to hold her own as a soloist. Why on earth our choir director gave her a duet to sing with that cute boy in our line up of songs I will never know. Perhaps I had some singer's envy as well- who knows.
So some time later in the year I was trying out for a school play and had to perform a solo in front of a panel of teachers, one of them was my choir director, who seemed shocked that I could sing. I got a mini standing ovation from 3 sluffers in the back row while singing Irene Cara's Out Here On My Own from the movie Fame. The thing I recall about the experience was that Mr L (my choir director) quickly asked if I was a Junior or a Senior. I realized later he was putting together his drones for next year's chamber-snot group. Looking back I am glad I got to avoid the cheesy dance steps he made them do (he used to be a director of the young ambassadors). It's no wonder we were never good enough for him.
Tonight as I sang next to my 15 year old son at the world's longest youth fireside, the hymns seemed to grate on his nerves a little. I thought that seemed odd. Then he leans in and whispers to me "could you take it down a notch please?! You are such a show off!" He also hated it that we visited with people afterwards. "Do you have to talk to everyone you see?! Geez!"