Singing low – thanks to GGCC!
Music has been part of my life since I was very young. I was born in Georgia, USA, so the sounds of both Country and Western and Gospel music are part of my DNA! I moved to the UK aged 7, and found the music in church here really strange and dull - nobody moved or clapped while they were singing! Eventually, I became used to life in the UK, had lots of happy times playing piano and singing in school and at church, and learnt to appreciate all sorts of music – choral singing, opera, musicals especially.
As a teenager my voice was always low. I sang alto in choirs and in duets at church with my pal Brenda, who had an amazing soprano voice! Motherhood, and a busy professional life, meant that I could only enjoy music as a listener for many years, other than singing in church as part of the congregation.
A few years ago I realised I was struggling to sing even in church – there was no way I could hit the high notes anymore, so I had to just mouth those bits! One morning I tried singing an octave lower which felt really comfortable. I realised that I was matching my husband’s voice – only in pitch I hasten to add as he often sings totally out of tune! When I got home I played about on the piano and realised that I was singing tenor notes very easily.
This happened just at the time I was thinking I’d like to join a choir but didn’t feel I could – as only men sing tenor…..or so I thought! Very fortunately I had a friend who sang with the Shirehampton Gospel Generation Community Choir. She encouraged me to give it a go. Her words were – “Dottie, come and try it – they welcome everybody who loves to sing. Come and listen to our next concert and see what you think”. I went to the concert and less than half-way through it knew that I wanted to be part of making such lovely music.
My first choir practice was interesting! I sat myself with the men – only to have several ladies advise me that I was sitting in the wrong section. I plucked up courage to say – “Actually, I’m a tenor, so plan to sing with the men”. That felt so good to be able to say!
It’s great too, to have been accepted by the men as part of them. Not surprising really as the GGCC is so much about acceptance – if you love to sing you are accepted!
I’ve got to know people I would never had met otherwise. We are a real mix of class, culture, personal situations, and ability – but when we sing we are one voice! Singing the uplifting songs we do – born out of adversity as Gospel music is – brings us together in a way which transcends any personal faith, or none, that we might hold as individuals.
Singing, especially with other people, makes us feel good. I’m so happy to have found GGCC where I can sing low, feel comfortable, and have fun while I’m doing it!
Thanks Dottie! If any other GGCC members have stories to share, drop me an email!
Have a good half term!