A month ago I was approached by my friend and visiting teaching companion, Erin. She was asked to head up our ward Relief Society's production of "The Ten Virgins" for the organization's birthday in March. She said there was one sister who accepted, albeit hesitantly, because of ailing parents, but would feel better about doing it if she had an understudy. That's where I came in. Erin asked me if I would back up this sister just in case she couldn't do it at the last minute or at all.
Now....for anyone who knows me, I like to sing. I actually LOVE to sing. But that doesn't mean I can sing by myself. There's a big difference between being a strong alto, supporting the sopranos, and singing ALONE. My voice just wasn't made for solos. And I've managed to avoid solos my entire life, except once. It was at Especially For Youth in Anchorage when I was 16. I sang "Save The Best For Last." I was caught up in the magic of EFY, it was completely last minute....and it was a joke. I couldn't hear the music and I felt stupid. This experience didn't destroy me, however, because I've never liked the way my voice sounds alone, hence my LOVE for choirs and small groups. Not to mention the spastic nerve problems that come when you're singing by yourself in front of living, breathing people. Sharing my singing voice, instead of my thoughts and ideas, in front of a group, no matter how small, just seems so much more personal to me.
My heart was willing to say yes to Erin. I wanted to help her out. But boy, I wasn't so sure she wanted me. I've had no solo singing experience and I'm worried about singing the right notes, especially since the solo will be sung to a performance track from a CD--where not all your notes are played in the accompaniment. So Erin came over and played the song for me on the piano as I tried singing along. She said I sounded fine. After I checked and rechecked to make sure I heard her correctly, I reluctantly agreed to help her out. But if I didn't sound good, I told her it was HER fault--because she picked me. I did not audition.
Yesterday Erin informed me that the sister I was the understudy for had to back out. I'm sad she can't do it, on several levels. She would have been great and I'm sorry her parents aren't doing well. And now...my status as back up virgin has now been upgraded to "full fledged virgin." Mercifully, Erin is coming over tomorrow to listen to me (as soon as I muster up the courage to sing for her) and give me breathing tips and other vocal coaching. I need all the help I can get.
Bottom line: For me, singing a solo is like a dreaded task on "Fear Factor". In my brain, singing a solo, whether it be for one person or a large group, is like I'm standing emotionally naked in front of them...exposing a special part of myself. One that I don't want evaluated or critiqued. The mere thought of all those eyes on me, even worse, all the ears listening, is extremely overwhelming and makes my heart pump frantically. I am completely petrified to even open my mouth. Especially when I think about all the beautiful voices I'll be standing rank with.
I am trying to be reasonable, however. After 31 years, I suppose it's time to face my fear. All I can say is...Pray for me!!