Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

12 May 2004

Canadian Idol

Long story about singing.

So, at the voice intensive we had something called "circle of sound" every week at the end of the week before we broke for the weekend.  So Friday evening around 4:00p all of the students and the faculty met in the main theatre and we had some kind of ritual.  For the third week, on Thursday night, Smukler told us that when we woke up on Friday morning, there would be three words and that we were to remember them.
We laughed.
Sure enough, when I woke on Friday morning, there they were.  I remembered them and then at Circle of Sound, we were supposed to write down these three words separately.  Mine were STRAIGHT and BABY and something else (I can't remember... damn memory).  Everyone else had their 3 words, too.  Smukler then told us that one was an exterior word and one was an interior word and the other word was a word for our voice (or something like that) and anyway, we were to write a song based on one of the words.
"A song?  Lyrics AND music?" we asked.  "Yes," said he.  (Actually, I didn't talk.  I figured everyone else was so inquisitive that I would just wait for instructions.)  Mind you I was terrified.  I had no desire to write a song at all, but I did it... lyrics AND music.  It even rhymed.  He couldn't have given us more than 10 minutes total.  It was quite the task.  After we were all done he asked us to put it down and come back to the circle and hold hands.  Most of us were crying.  The song had been based on one of these powerful words that had come to us during sleep... we had been working deeply for 3 weeks and we were all wading through serious shit at this point.
After we were all in the circle, Smukler looked at the girl to his left and said, "You go first."  She just looked at him.  "What did he mean?  First for what?"  None of us knew and yet we all knew.  "You are going to sing your songs for us," said he.
I cannot tell you the wave of fear that swept through this room.  I cannot TELL you.
And we all (except one participant) sang these songs that we had written.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced... and one of the most terrifying.  We must have all had so much TRUST that there would be no judgment!  When I think on it now... I don't trust anyone like that anymore.
But a teacher later said to me that singing is an experience that is much more heightened and risky than just speaking a poem or a song.  To SING it is to throw caution to the wind.