Monday, November 8, 2010

Pssst...I have a secret.

No, I'm not pregnant. 

The secret is... I started singing lessons! It's sort of a big deal to me, because my sister Jenny has always been the singer in the family (she majored in Vocal Performance and is really good!) and I felt like that left no room for me to be a singer too. I have memories of wanting to sing and be good at it only to be made fun by my brothers or told that I can't sing by other family members. 

Those memories may have become exaggerated over the years, but whether or not it really happened that way, I felt like no one wanted to hear me sing, and have felt that way for a very long time. Yet, I have always know that I can carry a tune and that I do have a pretty voice, I just need a little practice and training. It has been on my mind lately, so I took some action and found a voice teacher in classifieds. I have been taking lessons for about 5 weeks now and I am making great progress. 

Tanner, of course, was the first to know. Then I confided in my sister Jenny. She was so excited for me and encouraged me to keep at it. (She was always the one throughout the years that wanted to hear me sing! Thanks, Jenny.) Then after a few weeks more I told my parents - and they were excited too! That made me so happy. I then spilled the beans to the rest of the family and will be inviting them all to my Christmas Recital!

It's so funny that it is such a big deal to me, but as mentioned - there are a lot of sensitive feelings around this topic. During my first lesson I almost burst into tears when I started singing - it was like I was letting my voice be heard for the first time and I didn't care if anyone didn't want to hear. I wanted to sing and I was going to - like it or not! As I continue to practice my voice gets louder and stronger (which I believe goes hand in hand with me getting over the issue of not being heard - and my own voice/opinions/ideas becoming louder and stronger.) Even as I write this I feel my singing lessons are more than just singing lessons - I am facing a longtime challenge and also some fears that I am ready to overcome.

I have had a few musical opportunities in the past, but this is the first time I have felt like I can really do it - and really want to.

I was in plays as a young girl - Tinker-bell in Peter Pan, a hobo in Annie, and best of all -  a Horse - Lead Horse that is! in Ciderella. My sister was the Fairy Godmother and did a fantastic job - but can you image the little bit of shame I must have felt dressed up as a horse next to my amazingly talented lead-star sister?! 

Me and the fellow horses. I wish I could get my hands on
that crushed white velvet one-piece again - so sexy! 
Jenny in the pink! Beautiful.
Check out my hand placement and perfectly pointed toe - no wonder I was lead horse!

Fast forward 9 years and I am on my mission as a member of the Ambassadors Traveling Choir. Well, if I can't (couldn't) sing, how did I land that job? Well, one of the other girls (great singer) didn't get her Visa to come to Bulgaria on time; and my companion at the time got sick and had to go home. So I got put into the choir. It was definitely the highlight of my mission! We traveled all over Bulgaria and sang for hundreds of Bulgarians. It was an amazing opportunity to share our beliefs through music. The other 7 members of the choir were really musically talented - so, I was named the MC. And, once again, can you imagine how unmusical and insignificant I felt when matched up with these pros? But, God had a plan. I was designated as the one to close the program by sharing my personal testimony of Jesus Christ every time in every city for 2 months. It was awesome! But when it came to singing - I was the odd woman out.

Check out one of my songs - Build Me Up Buttercup. I did have a lot of fun singing this one - since it was a playful song and I was more backup. (You can hardly hear me - proof that I was embarrassed to sing.)

The Ambassadors (Посланиците)
Singing on the streets and passing out invites to the concert
Doing my MC thing!
The whole group.
(During the Summer there are miles and miles of sunflowers in Bulgaria!)
Our tour bus!

So, I am turning a new leaf and I am thrilled about it! Not to say it is coming easy and I am ready to be America's next Idol - but I am doing something that I have wanted to do for a long time and getting better at it. Singing is challenging, but so rewarding when I get it right and hear my improvements. I am so grateful for this opportunity and for the support and encouragement I am receiving! I look forward to learning and growing and letting my voice be heard! la la la...

Lettin' my voice be heard, baby!


  1. That is so great you're doing that!! I'm proud of you!! You were all so amazing!!! That one picture on the bridge where you're sitting is in Haskovo!!! Gosh.. It was wonderfull when you were here! <3
    Good luck!! I hope you make a video of your Christmas recital :)

  2. I love reading your blog. I think it's wonderful that you finally jumped in and started lessons. I'd always wanted to play the cello but at 51, felt I was too old. I started lessons in April and LOVE it! The first step is sometimes the hardest.

    You'll have to sing sometime for us at Club Night :)

  3. Good for you Anne and fellow type 2 - I too have finally taken up singing - I'm in a vocal workshop for 10 weeks learning to sing tunes - particularly jazz and pop with 8 I can never criticize vocalists again - it's challenging but fun and i hope to take private lessons soon. My goal is performing at vocal jam session called "Girls' Night Out". I'm 48 by the way - so Tweet - good for you and your cello lessons!

  4. Oh. my. gosh. A 2 to the core, I have felt the same way all of my life--with secret desires to be a jazz singer! This summer while teaching English in Italy I volunteered last minute to sing "Summertime" in a concert--I was so terrified, I totally messed up and yet I felt somehow completely liberated! I have since sung Karaoke--on my own--and am determined to take voice lessons and find a jazz band to practice with. Here's to being heard! Here's to singing our truth!

  5. Yes, I relate 100%! You are so amazing and such a great example of living life to the fullest in overcoming your fears! I felt the same way about dancing and decided to take that on this year. I have been dancing regularly at my gym for 6 months and I love it! There is something so freeing about doing what i've always feared being SEEN doing! Maybe singing will be next for me as I feel the same way that you did about your voice. Thank you for your inspiration and for sharing this with us!

  6. That is so great that you are taking lessons!! I'm proud of you :) I hope I get a chance to hear you sometime, it would really make my day! Hooray for expanding your horizons!!

  7. I totally understand this post. I had a choir teacher in high school who was very discouraging and made me feel like I couldn't sing. Finally I took voice lessons and it was an emotional experience. Now I've been taking them for 4 years and it still is the highlight of my week. I have a lot of stress in my life and being able to step aside and sing means everything. Plus, it is so great to take a song that sounds horrible at first and in a couple weeks have it sound good. Its like the little girl inside me yelps for joy! Enjoy your lessons.

  8. Let me know when you try out for a play or musical! I will try out with you! :)

  9. How great that you love singing so much! I totally relate. I used to sing in a band (20 years ago) and now we're having rehersals again to get ready for a big birthday party for two of the band's members! It's so funny how we feel as if time went back for 20 years.
    I love how you enjoy life, Anne... overcoming your fears. I've always felt my fears stopped me from doing so many things. Only now I'm more and more aware of how important it is to live without them and to enjoy life! And you are such a great example of one who does just that! :) Keep on enjoying it! :)

  10. Rachel,

    I think that is awesome that you're taking vocal lessons - that is my next step. About the high school choir teacher - one of those told Cher she couldn't sing either.....seems she's done okay in spite of that!

    I am feeling more confident each week in my workshop by the way...

    Sing out sister 2s!!!

  11. I am so proud of you. You have inspired me as you have begun your journey in taking voice lessons, and you have just gotten stronger and stronger. I love hearing you sing. Singing does open our voice and hearts in ways other then just producing sound. What journey. Love you and thanks again for following your dreams!