I haven't sung in a choir since I was an elementary school student. I remember being 'cut' from our grade six class choir (by a teacher who was downright nasty). In a voice that echoed around the building she said, 'there's something wrong with your sound'. So I would sit at my desk while the rest of the class grouped together and chirped and the teacher waved her hands about.
I didn't think there was something wrong. I sounded great in the shower, and I crooned to all the popular songs playing on the radio, and produced by my record player. My sisters and I formed a group that sang around a plastic bucket upended on a broom stick (our microphone) in our basement. We kept the room dark and stood under the single light at the bottom of the staircase (our spot light).
The teacher was mean, and she didn't like me. It hurt to be left out of the class choir, and before that I'd always loved singing in a group and competing in local music festivals. But I'd learned that there was something wrong with my sound so I didn't sing in public anymore.
Then...Choir, Choir, Choir came to my town and a group of friends wanted to join them. They are renowed mass choir leaders who travel North America encouraging large groups of people - singers and non singers to learn and perform a popular piece. At first, I hid at the back, mumbling the words and hoping no one would move away from my terrible sound. Around me, people of all ages smiled and lifted their voices in unison, and the music began to come back to me. I had a wonderful time and sang out the way I used to in my parents' basement. Check out choirchoirchoir.com or go to their Facebook page to see our St. Catharines rendition of the Fleetwood Mac tune 'DON'T STOP'. I didn't stop singing all night.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.