Losing the Essence of Ourselves

Last night Hubby and I attended a musical performance at Westminster College, featuring a local women’s choral group, the Viva Voce! Singers. I was struck by several things: the varied ages of the singers, how attractive they all were–including the artistic director Jean Applonie, and piano accompanist Kerri Green–and how happy they seemed while singing.

The program was a mix of old and new Christmas favorites and included a delightful variation on Beethoven’s Fur Elise (A Present Fur Elise) which I’d not heard before. At one point in the program, the audience would be featured as well (we’d been given the lyrics in a handout along with our programs), singing old favorites Joy to the World, Silent Night, and I Saw Three Ships

I could barely remember the last time I tried to sing, and I was sure my throat would tighten up and nothing would come out when the time came. Surprisingly, though, when the director turned to face the audience, my voice came out, and because I knew singing soprano would strain me, I slipped easily into alto. I spent several years singing in a church choir and it came much more easily than I’d imagined.

It was surprisingly fun, too. Even Hubby, standing beside me, piped in when it was the men’s turn. Having grown up in India, he was not used to singing any of this music, even though he’s well-familiar with it now after living in this country for nearly 42 years.

When I was about 15, a friend of mine was getting married (she was almost a senior in high school), and she asked me to sing at her wedding. For some reason she liked the way I sang I Love You Truly and I’ll Be Loving You Always. Not long after, another poor girl in Lake City heard about me through her pastor, who was the husband of the pastor of the church I attended, and being quite desperate to find a singer for her own wedding, asked me to sing the same songs at her wedding a few days later.

Prior to that, another friend who played a mean Boogie Woogie and anything else she wanted on the piano, and I began singing harmony at prayer meetings and church socials once in awhile. Do you remember “I know you belon-hu-hu-hu-huong to so-hu-hu-hu-humg body new-hu-hu-hu-hew, but tonight you belon-hong to me, just to little ol’ me?” We harmonized that a lot–like the Osmonds. Also You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” And that was my 15 minutes of fame.

The point is, I loved music, and it was always a very important part of my life in many ways. So seeing all these happy, singing women made me start wondering how I’d let music slip out of my life these days. When and how did it happen?

Before Hubby retired, I used to put on a stack of CDs regularly and listen to all kinds of music as I did my housework or sewing or whatever I was doing that day. Now that he’s home, we’re either on the computer, and on the rare occasions I do turn the radio or CD player on, it isn’t long until he pops in and turns the television on. So of course I have to turn the CD player off. It’s no better when we’re out in the car. Our dial is always on the local NPR station, and we hear either news or talk shows anytime we’re out and around town.

Out of my fabulous collection of Christmas music that I only get to hear after Thanksgiving and up through the 25th of December, I have only managed to hear a few favorites so far. But no Vince Guaraldi Trio’s Charlie Brown Christmas, or BB King’s Please Come Home for Christmas, Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Waltz, Ertha Kitt’s Santa Baby, or even Elvis’s Blue Christmas. And the list continues.

Why are women so predisposed to letting men take over the house whenever they’re home? At least that’s the way it is in our house. And before you say “it’s not his fault, it’s yours! let me just say I know it! He never makes demands that I turn off the CD player or radio. And he DOES regularly take me to concerts these days. So he’s not a bad guy, but I’d sure like to change things around here sometimes.

So if there’s anyone out there with any good and practical advice, I’d like to hear it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slip out into the family room and pick out a Christmas CD to listen to. (He’s out for a couple of hours attending a committee meeting.)

4 thoughts on “Losing the Essence of Ourselves

  1. Living alone, I never have to consider another person’s wishes or comfort. But I did it for 42 years, not because he asked, just because, like you, I thought I should. I like living alone and being free of “shoulds,” but it has it’s drawbacks.

  2. I have an ipod. And my husband, Sam, has those speakers that you can use to listen to the TV without anyone else hearing it. These are two of the ways we work around the fact that we live in a tiny cottage (800 sq. feet) Still, I admit that if I have the stero on when he comes in, I turn it off if I think he doesn’t like it. He loves Christmas music, however; I could keep that going for him 24/7.


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