Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being alive on the street where you live

Last night I did something I'd not yet done here in Kosovo.

A number of my friends have been singing karaoke on the weekends, and have asked me to come watch/listen. It's not been my idea of fun, generally speaking. For one thing, the music they 'sing', for the most part, is stuff with which I'm not familiar.

I've wandered through a couple of times on Saturday night, but haven't stayed too long. After all, I work Saturday evenings, and after celebrating a Mass or two, I'm usually pretty tired. Moreover, the music tends to be very, very loud, and that's getting harder on my ears the older I get.

Not to put too fine a point on it, it's "music" at the threshold of pain decibel level, often.

But it's fun to watch the Soldiers have a good time, even if I don't stay long.

So last night I decided to try my hand at karaoke, though it meant bringing along my own music. Despite several attempts to wade through the extensive lists of songs in the MWR karaoke collection, I was not able to find anything I knew, let alone could sing. I had thought I'd brought my sheet music with me on this mission, but it turns out that all I brought was the three-ring binder that *used* to have my music. Sigh.

In any event, what I *had* brought with me were a number of CDs which contained accompaniments for songs which I'd once worked on (but had never sung in public), or at least someday hoped to sing.

So I got out those recordings, loaded them into my iPod Touch (thanks Susan, Dan, Christine, and Katie!), and attempted to remember the correct notes for a couple of pieces, without having the sheet music in front of me. That's actually more frustrating than I'd have imagined it would be.

And last night, I threw caution to the wind, got up on stage, and sang.

I'm not sure what shocked people more -- hearing Broadway and opera, or just the fact that I got up there at all. I'm quite certain that none of them had heard of the musical "Company" and I'm also pretty sure they're not too familiar with "La Fanciulla del West."

For not having warmed up, and for not having sung anything like that in public in a long, long time (and, truth be told, I'd never sung either "Being Alive" or "Ch'ella mi creda" in front of an audience before), I felt pretty good about my performance of each piece.

It was fun to sing in that venue, and I felt spiritually fed by the experience.

Tonight I figure I'll sing "On the street where you live" from "My Fair Lady," and perhaps another Puccini aria, though I've not decided at this point which one. We'll see what the day brings....

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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