Choir hangover

I am very sleepy.  I had choir practice last night for our church’s Christmas Musical on Sunday morning.  And I mean our home-home church.  Because that is where I am.  The practice went ridiculously late… Well until 10:20.  For me, when I have a 15-minute drive home and have to be back at work the next morning for 7:30, it is ridiculously late. Thus, I have concluded… I must have a choir hangover.

It was wonderful to see my church family again.  Lots of hugs and good chats.  And my billionth explanation about the residency application process…  And lots of explaining where Patrick is…  Lots of singing.  And re-singing.  Some things never change.  The slow uptake of the choir learning music is one of them.  The choir in its majority is rather elderly.  Not that there is anything wrong with being of advanced age.  Very advanced.  I look forward to it.  I also think it is awesome that they are still singing in the choir!  The thing is, some of them cognitively aren’t where they used to be and they were never really the most musically inclined bunch.  And they have been singing in the choir for years and years.  They don’t read music.  They don’t listen well.  But, they love the Lord and they love to sing.  And they are dedicated.  It makes life interesting and I wouldn’t trade this choir for the best one in the world!

One of the things that always got me through choir practice was taking notes on ridiculous things the choir director would say.  Either in jest or in an attempt to explain for the millionth time how to sing (or not sing) a particular portion of a song.  I found myself doing that again.  The key is to put the comments in quotations at the point of reference of the comment.  And then, of course, give reference to the person who stated this.  The best part is when you get the music back to sing it another time, your comments are still there.  And you get to laugh all over again.  Nothing is better than seeing something like “put your guts into it,” “you wouldn’t pee this loudly,” or “this is big F loud” to get yourself smiling.  Maybe that is just me.  But still.

Woo Christmas sweaters. Image from

The musical this year, interestingly, given the choir composition is “Never Too Old For Christmas – a simple musical for senior adult choirs.”  True story.  It made my night.  It is indeed simple.  Though, the kids choir and youth are also involved.  And the entire choir is not made up of seniors.  Why… there are three young adults (two of which live elsewhere) and three youth and several people my parents’ age.  So, take that!  They want us to wear Christmas sweaters for the musical.  “Nice Christmas sweaters.”  The example sweater is one I would wear to an ugly sweater party.  I love my life!  I have concluded I will plead not having a sweater with me and just wear red or green.

It feels good to be home and to be singing in the choir.  Despite some changes that make me sad inside (like the absence of some of my favorite people), it is still homey and familiarly frustrating and yet entertaining.  I love music and the people.  I miss it when I am away.  Today, however, I remember that late practices cause me to miss sleep the next day.

Its interesting how things change so much and yet they stay the same.  Since moving away, the music minister, my other father died.  When I come back, things always feel off.  I have never really fully processed things.  My other mother, his wife, is the music minister now.  She has a different style and yet I see him in her.  It helps with the hurt a little.  I still feel crushed when I come home and he isn’t there.  Or when I call their house and he doesn’t answer and talk my face off.  But those memories don’t go away.  Some other choir members have become too unwell, have died or have decided to stop singing for other reasons.  In a small, close-knit group, you notice those changes.  They become more and more apparent to me.  And yet, when someone has a quivering voice and another is off key… and that guy in the back comes in before everyone else, you feel at home.  It is nice to be welcomed.  To feel comfortable enough to stick a pencil in your hair and put your feet up.  To know that these people pray for you when you are there and when you’re not.  To feel the element of the routine of passing out candy.

Going home again is possible.  The thing is, life goes on while you aren’t there.  The world keeps turning.  The people you love, they can change, they can move, they can die.  It is comforting to know that despite overwhelming change and uncertainty in this world, those you love are there for you.  The same is for God.  Despite changes in everyone in everything, He never changes.  He is the only thing that doesn’t change.  Even the choir changes.  Our friends change.  Our families change.  We change.  But He is stable.  Its nice to know that there is something out there that doesn’t change (especially when you are as scared of change as I am).  He provides for our needs and He provides the balance and comfort when other things change or become uncertain.  I like that.   Whenever I go home, I look forward to things being the same, but they never are, not in entirety, though there is always something comforting.  That is the great part about being home with people you love. The even better thing is that going to God, things are always the same and always comforting… He is our most stable home.

On a related change note, my parents have been slowly fixing up my childhood home.  Each time we come home something is different.  It has come to the point where I now walk in the door and prowl around to find the thing that is different.  Almost a game of sorts.  This time… It was the bathroom.  Patrick and I were guessing the living room carpet (though he really likes the carpet).  A new sink and tiles.  The sink kind of reminds me of a fountain.  My uncle said it looks like a urinal.  The tiles are nice.  Change can be good.  But stability is nice to have as well.

Back to Christmas… Here is a church choir classic.  We liked to say “them bells “ instead of  “those bells.”  Mainly because it drove a certain someone nutty.  And because half the choir thought they were the words and were corrected a million times.  That made saying “them” entertaining.  We needed to get out more.

12 thoughts on “Choir hangover

  1. We too belong to a small church that has a musically challenged choir. When our kids come home from college, I sense they experience what you’ve just revealed, a sense of home, comfort and being known and loved just because. They too struggle with the choir scene, but this year my son has mentioned that he may join the Christmas Eve choir instead of sitting in the pew and holding back the chuckles. Funny how God and time changes us…happy singing, Trish 🙂

    • The small church with the musically challenged choir is definitely an experience. I have a few friends who since starting college or working stopped singing in it and choose to sit and chuckle. I can’t handle it. Plus I enjoy singing too much! Thanks for sharing that! I’m glad to know its not just us!

  2. Great post Trish. I can relate to it -not because I sing in a choir but because I love to hear choirs sing and I wrote two articles on how singing in choirs helps your health. One for the Globe and Mail Dec. 31, 2005 (no longer online) and one geared to seniors for CheckUp Magazine in 2007. Now I’m pitching to various magazines a story on how music helps the health of seniors. No bites so far.

    And thanks again for reading and signing up for my blog posts. I’m doing the same with yours.


    Sharon Crawford
    Only Child Writes

    • Thanks for stopping by Sharon! I am glad you like hearing choirs sing. That is another of my favourite things to do! I will try to find your article! I do believe any kind of music is good for your health, but choir singing has benefits for certain, even with just the camaraderie that develops! Take care!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog, because now I’m glad to know about yours. LOVE and totally get this:

    “And yet, when someone has a quivering voice and another is off key… and that guy in the back comes in before everyone else, you feel at home. It is nice to be welcomed. To feel comfortable enough to stick a pencil in your hair and put your feet up. To know that these people pray for you when you are there and when you’re not. To feel the element of the routine of passing out candy.”

    So sorry about your loss of the music minister. How sweet that his wife is now leading. Peace to you….

  4. Laughing all the way through this. . . my hubby is a minister of music and I live a lot of this, too. . . . Loved your idea about writing down the funny comments made while practicing a song (our funnies usually come from the bass section. . . .)

    May God bless,
    Sislyn/Jean H.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! The funny comments are great, especially if you do the same piece years later and remember all of the funny things that happened in association with learning it the first time. Thanks for stopping by and reading! Blessings!

  5. Pingback: Choir time!! « At least we made it this far…

  6. Pingback: Twisted Christmas | At least we made it this far...

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