Fear of Forgetting Words
by Charlotte Canion
Singing in the shower is for your own entertainment, but singing in front of twenty, fifty or hundreds of people opens up a whole other can of worms.
I have been in choirs all my life and have enjoyed every minute. While my children needed their mother to be with them and be their cab driver, their meal ticket and their cheerleader, I put most of my passions on hold, but once the crib was empty, it was a different story. I began to explore things I had always wanted to do.
First, I started singing in the church choir and that only took one night a week rehearsal and on Sunday morning. As things progressed, I became a cantor, which was a little out of my comfort zone. Through the Grace of God, I made it through the parts I had to sing solo, and believe it or not, I was on key, singing the right notes.
The next phase of my renewed hobby was when I heard about the “SWEET ADELINE’S”. For those of you who have not heard of them, an introduction is in order. Sweet Adeline’s is the female version of Barber Shop Quartets, but with a twist. Choirs of fifty up to two hundred voices singing acapella in the barbershop style, all in harmony – oh what a sound.
I thought I had found my hobby gold mine. I was in a choir of seventy-five ladies and we put on shows and we sang for anyone who would listen. I remember one time when about eight of us were at a restaurant right after a show. We were all dressed alike and the waitress was curious about where we were going or where we had been. Someone spoke up, maybe me, and said we are part of a Sweet Adeline’s choir and we just finished our afternoon show. The waitress was intrigued and the restaurant was not real crowded, so she asked us to sing a song. As luck would have it, we had all four parts (Tenor – Lead – Baritone and Bass). We all agreed on the song we would sing and we sang our song to a handful of customers, waiters and even the cook came out from the kitchen. It was wonderful!
I should mention my Fear of Forgetting Words. Singing in a choir gives you support to breath and maybe, forget a word, once in a while. The price to pay for forgetting, despite the rehearsals, practice and routine development was steep. Forget the words or movements, you didn’t perform. I learned every word, every note, every dance step and hand motion we had to learn for a show. I have seen ladies have to leave the stage because they did not perform on a certain song. As I progressed in the choir, I was asked to be part of a Quartet (four ladies each singing their part of the harmony). Here was another night a week we had to practice added to our heavy rehearsal requirements.
One Fourth of July, the choir was asked to perform at a country club. The day was sunny and the parade had ended right where we were to perform. The Choir director had heard me sing the solo of the song I had done many time in rehearsal. She asked me to perform it today.
I was fine until we walked out on the stage area and the director looked at me and I froze. I ask the person next to me, what are the first three words. Stage fright had caused me to go blank. After the person next to me told me the three words, I was fine, but not until the choir had sung the interlude two times. I sang my solo and I knew that had always been a fear of mine and I had manifested it, so it was inevitable.
The good news was it did not happen in a competition and I knew it was behind me. I do not worry about forgetting my words anymore. I have let that FEAR go. Do I have other fears, yes, but I will save them for another story?
Author - Speaker - Inventor
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