Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Lift Up Thy Voice With Strength"

Church choir today. We started practicing the Messiah for Christmas. "Wow," said my fellow alto. "Have you done this before? You know the part so well."

I laughed and told her that for years I sang soprano, with my mother singing alto in my ear. While I slid around on the high notes, I could hear Mom hitting her part with confidence and strength.

Although I always loved to sing, sight-reading did not come easily. In a college choir, when asked to switch teams and sing alto, I often struggled to find my part in the unfamiliar music. However, once we started singing the well-known hymns of my youth, I found I could sing even the most complicated measures with ease. All I had to do was imagine my mother sitting beside me, listen to her strong voice and follow her lead.

Mom never set out to teach me to sing alto. In fact, she always encouraged me to sing my own song and smiled when our individual melodies joined in balanced harmony. But now that I'm singing many years later and many miles away, I find myself straining to hear her voice.

And hoping my song echoes hers.

17 comments:

diane said...

This is beautifully written. Any mother would love such a tribute.

Kara Jayne said...

That was so sweet Gabi. I feel even more proud now to be an alto!

Kat said...

Really sweet and makes me appreciate the back row harmony I had with my mom. Thanks

Christie said...

You and your mother have the BEST voices (and your sisters, for that matter). I wish I could just sit in the middle of a room and listen to all of you sing all the time!

Lauren in GA said...

That was so lovely, Gabi. Your mom is going to love reading your sweet words :)

I am an alto, too...and it is so funny...as I read this I realized that I always hear my mom's alto in my head when I sing the hymns on Sunday. It came from years of sitting beside her in church hearing her alto ring out.

Cathy said...

Sweet! I often try to remember hearing my mother sing. She sang everyday certain songs, she wasn't a member of the church, but music was important to her, it's one of the things we shared.

Robin said...

I have had the same experience. My mom sang alto so I do too. Sometimes I even realize that my mom sang alto wrong, she made up a few parts, but they sound great and harmonize perfectly.

cami said...

I can't carry a tune anywhere. I remember when Bryce was like 3 and I was singing him a lullaby... he said, "mom, can you stop singing now?".

polly said...

I love the symbolism in your story. I sit next to my neighbor Betty in choir...I have to sit by her because she has perfect pitch, not just in music, but in her life...I sit next to her and sing whatever she sings and I know I will come out ok.

Jeanelle said...

Such a lovely post & a beautiful tribute to your mom. Singing in the Messiah choir during our tri-stake sing along each year makes me very happy except I'm usually sitting by myself because all of my friends are sopranos. Sure you don't want to come out for a visit in a couple of weeks??

martha corinna said...

I love your writing Gabi. Such a sweet tribute to your mother.

andrea said...

someone once said something semi-similar to me. it went like this:
"wow! have you sung this before? no? then you probably should keep it that way."

there is straining going on when i sing as well. mostly my voice, straining to find any kind of a note to hit.

lovely tribute. i hope noe writes one about me someday... and there is hope for that, given her hearing impairment.

Jenibelle said...

Very sweet.

My mom couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but I really miss hearing her sing off tune.

Bridget said...

Your mom must be so proud of you. For many reasons.

TravelinOma said...

I can't sing a note anymore, but I'm thrilled you remember my voice as strong. Your metaphor here is so touching. I remember my high school choir teacher lifting his eyebrows and mouthing the words "Think high" when we performed. You think high in all aspects of your life, and it lifts us all. I'm proud to have shared a hymnbook!

Hollyween said...

I don't know how you do it! Who knew ward choir could be so sweet and heartfelt. SO sweet.

calibosmom said...

I would sell one of my children to sing alto...not really but you know what I mean. It's a gift!

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