As I was washing the dishes in the kitchen sink, a song came back to me from years ago when my children were toddlers. I had just finished giving a voice lesson to a Baptist pastor at his storefront church. He’s coming along nicely, despite a rather constant battle with sinusitis (with which I sympathize, having finally had surgery for chronic sinusitis about 10 years ago). He’s got an entire electronic sound system set up in the sanctuary, which is also in the process of being remodeled. They raised the roof a few feet, improving the acoustics tremendously. Today, I asked my student to try practicing The National Anthem while using a microphone. I want him to really begin to like the sound of his voice. That will give him more confidence and more motivation to practice and play around with what he’s got in his “bag of tricks”. I told him that I get a similar opportunity when I’m at the 1839 St. Peter’s church at Old World Wisconsin. At the end of the day, before I sweep up and close the windows, I allow myself some singing time. By that hour, visitors are heading to the parking lot and rarely step inside. I do the figure 8 processional up and down the aisles singing “Jubilate Deo” or “Dona Nobis Pacem” or “Amazing Grace”.
The acoustics in this Gothic Revival building are fabulous! I really like the way my voice sounds echoing up in those wide, white spaces. Yesterday, I stopped in a corner and tried out Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. I haven’t sung that since I performed it at a wedding four years ago. It was a paid gig, just four months after Jim’s death, on our Kiss Anniversary. I was nervous, I was emotional, but I got through it. Then I cried all the way home in the car from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to Illinois. It’s a perfect song for St. Peter’s, the first Catholic cathedral in Milwaukee. It sounds really lovely, but I need to find the music and remember the words!
I am preparing to give another lesson this evening to my newest student. She also has an amazing electronic set up…in her basement. She’s a drummer; her husband plays and teaches guitar and writes songs for his rock ‘n’ roll band. My student is going to try some Sarah McLachlan tunes. She’ll do very well with that style. So, I’m going to do a bit of listening now, but I’ll leave you with the song that started me off. Enjoy!