Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Make a Joyful Noise into Mom's Blackmail Folder...

When I was a Sunbeam (three-year-old child at church), my mother says I sang a de facto solo in Sacrament Meeting. She claims that Sister Wilson, whom I remember fondly as the best primary chorister EVER, wanted me to sing a solo. I was too shy, but then I stood in the very front of the stand and sang out to the entire congregation while the rest of the kids fidgeted. Granted my mom may be prejudiced, but she's very truthful, and it squares with what I know about primary programs and my own personality.

Jon has a fine voice. He can read music. He doesn't really enjoy doing solos, but he's an excellent choir bass, and has done a lovely job in duets and quartets. I love it when he hits that low G...*shiver*

I used to sing Eric a song every night when I put him down for "night-night." When he was 21 months old, we were visiting my in-laws. As I put him in the pack-n-play, I asked, rhetorically, "What song would you like tonight?" He astounded me--and Linda, who is my witness!--when he sang the first four notes of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in answer.

Once I quit gaping, I sang it to him. He has demonstrated the ability to carry a tune ever since. This year he's been working on learning the alto line to most hymns. In Sacrament Meeting, I will normally sing alto with him for the first verse of a hymn, and then he goes "solo" afterward. He's getting good! His pitch wavers occasionally, but then he pulls it back in tune.

Daniel started singing when he was two years old. He impressed me at age five when I taught him "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" on the piano, and he played it and sang at the same time. He has a lovely boy soprano. You may recall his "Veterinary Missionary" solo from three years ago. (Like his mom, he also has the flamboyant personality for performing solos. Eric is slightly more reticent, like his daddy.)

All in all, we're a musical family. I have really enjoyed teaching my kids parts singing this last year. We practice doing hymns for Family Home Evening several times a month. Our harmonies are a work in progress, but I have high hopes for the future.

Sam seemed all set to carry on this tradition. He responded enthusiastically to music while he was still in the womb. Right after he turned one year old, he kicked the back of my seat in excellent rhythm, keeping time to a lively piece playing on the classical station.

Then, three weeks ago, he suddenly started freaking out if we sang without his permission. If any family member suddenly burst into song, Sam shrieked "NOOOO!"

Baffled, we shrugged it off as a (hopefully temporary) two-year-old OCD thing.

Then, last week, he solved the problem himself. Rather than scream, he joined in the fun.

Tricia Humberstone, sitting behind us at church on Sunday, got a kick out of hearing Sam "lift up his voice." With great, um, enthusiasm.

I KNEW we couldn't stay lucky forever. He must have min/maxed his musical ability with his charisma. Anyway, it seems we have produced that unlikeliest of offspring: one who is tone deaf.

Tonight I was in charge of family night. Partway through the opening hymn, I paused and ran to grab audio recording equipment. "It would be criminal," I thought, "Not to preserve this for posterity."

We restarted "Joy to the World."

Normally I prefer to keep a tight lid on my blackmail files. The more shrouded they are, the more I can make the kids worry about what might be in there. The more I can surprise Daniel the first time he brings a serious girlfriend home from college. Wahaha.

But it would be selfish to keep this one to myself. I offer it to the world, both to bring you holiday joy, and as a reminder to my children that there's more where this came from.

If he tries really hard, perhaps he could become the next Florence Foster Jenkins and perform at Carnegie Hall.  Fast forward to the 8 minute mark. If you're really in a hurry, fast forward to the 14 minute mark.

Listen to her, and then post a comment about how well Sam compares.

[Note 1: I had forgotten how obnoxious non-interactive technology can be. I recorded an audio file on my smartphone. Then I converted it from an amr to a wav file. Then I remembered that I can't actually upload an audio-only file to blogger. I wasted half an hour trying to install a gadget or widget to fix that, then gave up. I then spent another hour trying to create a simple "video" using Windows software. (I love writing but I am NOT cut out for video editing.)

Fast forward some more. Eventually I uploaded a video, in the correct format, to youtube and--hopefully!--linked it here. If it doesn't work, blame the scapebaby, Geoffrey. If he ever develops into a world-renowned opera singer who plays Carnegie Hall, I'll apologize for having maligned him.]

[Note 2: If the rest of us sound awful, remember that 1) my smartphone has horrible sound quality, and 2) it's hard to hear your note with Sam nearby. Listen to the audio above and you'll understand why...]

[Note 3: The still pictures are 1) Our 2010 Christmas tree and 2) Baby Sam, dressed as Santa, from that same year. He would have been about nine months old.]

[Question: I'm unhappy that youtube advertises in the space once the video ends. Blogger doesn't like it when I try to upload directly, though. Any suggestions for other video-sharing sites?]


Carolyn said...

wow. At least Sam is enthusiastic?

Krenn said...

have you considered the possibility that Sam's goal is to become a director? it would match what you've said so far.

Brian Thomas said...

That's adorable. :) My mom tells me that when I was in my crib, I started singing Barbara Streisand's "People" [].

Gail said...

Brian--Awwww. Cute and smart. But were you on key?

Ronald--That sounds like a good idea. I figure you meant that since he's charismatic and has a sense of rhythm he could conduct, but I'm thinking "if he has no natural talent for something, obviously he should go into management!"

Jon said...

First, I'd like to point out that it wasn't three weeks ago that Sam started screaming when we sang unannounced. It was more like three months. I was personally quite happy to have him stop screaming. This is a small improvement.

Second, I expect that right about the time Eric starts to get good at singing Alto, his voice will begin to change and we'll have to wait several years before he can trust his voice enough again to sing at all.

Finally, there have been several times in the last month that I've sung random notes and Sam has promptly matched them. I think he just has difficulty when he doesn't know the words.

I'm APPALLED that you would go so far to make up such a horrible story about any of our sons, much less Sam. How much time did you have to spend spicing that horrible noise into our song.

Cheryl said...

That was delightful! I also have children of varying degrees of musical talent, including one who is tone deaf and sings in the shower. Although playing an instrument has helped her tone considerably, she still can't stay on pitch when singing.

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