Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I was probably born listening to music! My siblings, all older than I, listened to the early days of rock and roll. My sister played piano and I can remember her playing the songs recorded by Elvis, The Everly Brothers and many other artists.

One Christmas, I think I was about 12, I phoned long distance into a radio show on CJOB that my mom listened to. You could win an LP if you sung a Christmas carol on air. Most of the time the hosts only let you sing 3 or 4 lines or maybe a verse if you were decent, I sang "White Christmas". They let me sing the whole song! I was thrilled!

I used to sing along with the radio and fall asleep listening to CKRC and CKY. I lived and breathed music. I spent all my allowance on 45's and LP's. I even took voice lessons for a couple of years in my teens. I hated doing scales and practice pieces - I just wanted to sing the songs I heard on the radio. I dreamed of being a singer!

I took piano for a year but really didn't enjoy it. Even got my Grade One Music Theory. How I ever passed that exam is still a mystery as I can't read music to save my life. I could tell one note was higher or faster than another but not what it was or sounded like. My musical ability has always been by ear! A friend taught me a few guitar chords while we were working at a summer camp in the early 1970's.. I worked mostly in the kitchen but also helped with the music program so learning a bit of guitar helped.

The first time I sang in public was at a recital that my voice teacher arranged for her students at a local seniors' home. I was terrified. I'd sung for family and a few friends but never strangers. I don't remember what the song was, but I remember what happened like it was yesterday. I got about four or five lines into the song and then heard an old lady a few rows back say to the person beside her - in a not so quiet voice - "I can't hear her can you?' I was mortified! I wanted to run but I saw my teacher motioning to keep going and to sing louder. Somehow I managed to finish and even got polite applause. I didn't want to sing there again but about six months later we had another recital for the seniors. I really didn't want to go back. What if that lady said something again? My teacher said, "Don't worry, she died!"

Well I did go back several times. Over the next twenty years, I sang in choirs, in small groups and did more solos than I can count. I've sung at weddings, church services, coffee houses, country fairs, talent nights, and house parties. I was in my high schools production of "Fiddler on the Roof'. I even ended up on the radio a couple of times - once on a talent show.

In an ideal world, I probably would have pursued some kind of musical career but music has become a visual world and I, alas, have a face for radio.

I still sing a lot but now it is usually just for my own amusement. I sing in the shower and I sing with the radio while I'm in the kitchen or working around my apartment. So far the neighbours haven't complained, so I guess the old pipes are still in pretty good shape. Then again most of my neighbours are seniors!

The last time I sang in public was about ten years ago. Arthur Black used to host a radio show called "Basic Black" on CBC radio. One Christmas, he had a contest and had listeners call in and leave a recording of a reworded Christmas carol. What did I write and sing you ask? Isn't it obvious?

"I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas!"


PS; If I can find the words to my rewritten song, I'll post them this coming Christmas!

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