So, back in June, I started taking singing lessons.
I can’t really tell you why I decided it was time to learn how to sing. I can’t say with certainty what, if anything, I hope to gain from the experience. I can’t explain where the urge originated, or even the significance of the timing.
When Carol, my vocal coach, asked me what I hoped to get out of our time together, I didn’t really have an answer for her either. I believe I told her, “let’s just see where this takes us.”
Who knew it would take us to auditioning for a role in Hello Dolly! at Lebanon Community Theatre?
I know a lot of adults jump into crazy stuff like this for a variety of reasons. Some want to try something new. Some want to find a way to boost their self-confidence. Some are tired of living through their kids. Some want to recapture their golden days.
None of that really applies to me.
Self-confidence? Nah, My self confidence is already in the red zone. Trust me. When it comes to confidence, my cup runneth waaaaay over.
Second shot at the good ol’ days? Hardly. I learned almost immediately in college – where my undergraduate major was Performing Arts, by the way – that I just wasn’t that good. I got into a lot of shows the old-fashioned way – meaning I was a guy willing to be in the show.
My big break actually came in the form of the All-Army Soldier Show. But my commanding officer wouldn’t release me to join the cast, so we’ll never know if I could have been a contender. Three decades later, well, turns out I’m still a guy willing to be in the show. Even if my knees aren’t quite there with me.
Now, it’s been suggested that I started this singing thing as a replacement for flying.
Back before, well, just before, my absolute favorite thing to do – for me – was to head over to Liberty Sport Aviation at the Lancaster airport, check out 711EV and spend an hour touring Amish Country from at least 2,500 feet.
There simply isn’t a feeling like the one you get when you pull back on that stick and launch your plane into the sky. I loved soloing – just me and God in the cockpit. Engine noise muffled to white background buzz, the curve of the earth off in the distance, pastures below as far as the eye can see. There was no better way to recharge my batteries and just listen to what God might have to say.
(Obviously, that’s not an option right now. May never be an option again. I’m not giving up hope, just being realistic. I am not legally or medically grounded – but let’s be honest. Solo piloting in my condition is just begging the universe to ruin somebody’s day.)
I don’t do much these days for just me. Actually, I really don’t do anything for just me.
Health and happiness for my wife and daughter take absolute priority. After that, I have a company that needs constant tending – several employees whose livelihoods depend on decisions that I help make. After that, well, there isn’t really an after that.
The good news – I love my family. I love my job – most of what I do for money I would be doing anyway! I am surrounded by awesome people I would do anything for – and I believe each of them would return the favor.
The bad news – batteries still need to be recharged.
Oddly enough, the 30 minutes each week I spend in Carol’s studio, practicing breathing techniques, digging for the bass notes and squeaking out the high-A’s, that’s getting it done. For one half-hour, I don’t have to think about fried servers, or bills to pay, or where my kid will go to college. I really don’t have to think about the health stuff.
All I have to do is focus on the next note. And the one after that.