Archive for the ‘Breaking News’ Category
I have always loved to sing. I guess I was inspired by my parents: My dad had perfect pitch, and though he wasn’t a singer, he played piano by ear most of his life, sometimes for money; his piano, left, sits in my living room and reminds me of him every time I see it.
My mom was really the singer. She taught my Brownie troop every song she could, most of which I remember to this day. She sang to herself all day long, even (especially?) when things weren’t going so well. I have a crystal clear memory of sitting on the front porch of my grandmother’s house in Cincinnati on a warm summer evening, listening to Mom and Nana (her mom) sing folk songs, camp songs and whatever else came to their mind as my sister and cousins and I ran around catching lightning bugs.
Singing has always been natural for me, something everyone does. It has only been recently that I’ve realized what a gift my voice is. I don’t want you to take that the wrong way: My voice isn’t anything I’ve ever really done anything to deserve. It is the way it is because, well, God made it that way. Fortunately I have been lucky enough to be in choruses beginning in about the fifth grade (thank you, Kettering, Ohio, public schools) that taught me how to read music, and I have had sense enough to realize that singing is a sort of universal language, a way to fit in when no other way will work.
I sang at my high school graduation. I know all of the 70s-era musicals by heart (Godspell, anyone?). When I lived in New York after college, I sang with an NYU chamber ensemble that turned into a life-changing trip to Scotland and Wales. Later on I sang with the Collegiate Chorale, and performed at Carnegie Hall (really!). When Andy and I lived in Denmark while he was in grad school, about the only time I felt like I had any reason to be there at all was when I was at chorus rehearsals.
It took me a while to come back to singing when we moved to Memphis, and of course (this being Memphis) it happened at church. The choir director at Calvary at the time heard me singing the closing hymn one day (did I mention I’m not shy about my singing?) and asked me to audition. The music we made together at Calvary — and the faith I saw in action among the terrific people that made up the choir — made me think about my singing in a whole new way.
Okay, it made me think about my faith in a whole new way. What a revelation, that singing in a group to the glory of God could be such a powerful act of faith. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by that, but I always am.
Which brings me to tomorrow, when my new choir pals and I will be singing a concert for Ascension Day at St. Mary’s Cathedral. I am no longer at Calvary, but have been welcomed to the choir at St. Mary’s with much more than open arms. It’s a terrific group, filled with nice people and amazing voices. Scott Elsholz, the organist/choirmaster, is a gifted musician who is my kind of choir director: Enthusiastic, affirming, articulate, challenging. Our rehearsals on Wednesday nights are often the highlight of my week, a time when I use a different part of my brain, learn new and sometimes difficult things, and hear in a brand new way. Truly, the experience of filling the magnificent gothic nave of St. Mary’s Cathedral with just human voices is one of those bucket list experiences I am grateful every day to have.
I hope you’ll think about coming to our concert tomorrow (Thursday, June 2): It starts at 7pm and is free. Everyone is welcome. There’s a reception afterward.
If you listen carefully, I’ll bet you’ll hear why I like singing there so much.
I can finally say it: I feel guilty that I am no longer a journalist.
It all started last week, when my subscription to The CA suddenly stopped. Turns out they hadn’t sent me a bill, but the point is that it took me THREE DAYS to call and re-up. Did I miss that dead-tree reading experience? A little, I guess, but the online version was almost as good.
Then I got a Kindle. You know, one of those handheld reading devices that Amazon sells. (Actually, I am borrowing the St. Mary’s “review copy” of a Kindle, but it lives in my house, so I guess it’s mine.) And you know what? I really like it. The device sort of disappears as you use it — you just read
your story, you forget you’re not actually holding a book — and it’s easy to figure
out. I am reading the daily New York Times on the Kindle, too.
So you can see why I’m worried that I’m about to get struck by lightning. All those years making a living in print journalism. All those great stories I never got to tell. Never mind that the industry is imploding and fewer reporters are doing more work in less depth. And forget, for a moment, that I really am enjoying my new life as a private school fundraiser/communicator.
I still miss journalism.
It was the cover story of last Sunday’s New York Times magazine, and several of my more plugged-in girlfriends have mentioned it to me since: A terrific interview by Emily Bazelon with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now the only woman on the United States Supreme Court, about the upcoming confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor. Depending on who was talking, we all see ourselves in her: My friend W. loved how Ginsburg pointed out that when she talked at a judicial conference, no one heard her, but when the guys at the table said the same thing, it was a brilliant idea. What I loved was hearing her certainty about the big issues of our time:
Abortion (she points out that “women of means” will always get to choose now,
so it’s an issue about poor women), racial discrimination, and civility.
Long live Ruth!
… which is how I have decided the jump from The Commercial Appeal to St. Mary’s, three months in, should really be described. It’s definitely not a bad thing, not at all. I was thrilled to be going to St. Mary’s, and I am really enjoying my new work there.
But I completely underestimated the enormous change I was bringing on myself. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, it took a little longer than I thought, but I’m thrilled to be back blogging at iDivamemphis, this time as a civilian … no longer an employee of The Commercial Appeal or skirt! magazine.
In order, here are the
most frequent questions people have asked me since my departure. The answers? Well, here’s
what I know. We’ll puzzle out the rest as we go along.