Monday, 26 November 2007

Developing my talents

I am stepping outside my comfort zone. I hadn't quite intended to do jump into such deep waters, but nevertheless, I am pushing forward. I made a goal to develop some smaller talents I have, and I have been provided with ample opportunity to meet my goals.

You all know I love to play the piano. I also played the clarinet, and dappled on a few other instruments as well. I have no problem playing the piano in public, and often jump in to help out at church playing either the piano or the organ. But there is another instrument I love just as much as the piano - the voice. I love to sing. I have sat for hours (literally!) at the piano, playing and singing through my songbook collection. And yet I am terrified to sing in public. It's not that I can't sing. I can hold a tune, and even pick out the alto line of a choir piece. However, I don't have a solo voice. That's okay with me. You can't be great at everything. But you can work with what you've got, and develop it into something stronger. I'll never record a CD, but there's no reason I can't gain confidence and sing in a small group.

So this year, I joined our church choir. I've led many choirs in the past, but this time I get to sing in it. I'm so excited about it, and having an absolute blast. We're currently preparing for a Christmas concert, and we're singing some fabulous songs. They aren't your traditional carols. Among the pieces are a Nigerian chant, a Caribbean-style song, and "The First Noel" sung to "Pachabel's Canon in D". I'm truly stretching my voice talent through this experience.

I thought I was doing pretty good. It was the perfect start - a good way to ease myself into singing. But we all know that "easing your way in" doesn't produce maximum results. I love the analogy of firing a clay pot. You've got to give it some heat to keep the shape of the mold. And yesterday, I was thrown into the fire!

A woman at church asked me if I'd like to sing in a smaller group - about 6 people, for the Christmas concert. I said yes immediately, though nervously. With two other people singing the alto part, I could sing in the small group and still have others to lean on if necessary. The woman met up with me an hour later to pass off the music - and she handed me two songs! She charmingly smiled and asked if it would be alright if I joined a trio to sing at our Christmas Church service. And yes, I have to carry my own part.

I guess this is where I express my gratitude for these opportunities. I know without a doubt that I lack the courage to have approached someone and said "Hey, I want to be a better singer. Can I sing a duet in front of a hundred people next Sunday?" And so I am grateful for these circumstances. With performance dates looming within a month's time, if you need to find me I'll be glued to the piano working on my goal of developing my talents.

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