Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

27 March 2006

"God Bless' the Child"

This song is not a folk song, though in this section you would assume that it was. It is most definitely a blues song, and, for me, a challenging song to sing. My voice teacher has been discussing with me the wacky idea of changing a song's key. I'm not sure that I could figure out where to put this one in my range to make it work. I'm also not sure if I really like this song, but I don't hate it either. I am very glad to be singing my song of the day again, and hoping that I can get back in the habit. Though Comcast is still evil, and making this difficult.

I did cantor at my grandmother's funeral last week, and it was like riding a bike, I did remember where things went, even never having done the full-fledged cantoring thing myself. While at the funeral home I threatened to call for a few 'Amen!'s and 'Praise the Lord!'s during mass. My one brother promised to chime in, and my mother had visions of being kicked out of her parish. In the end, though, I just sang the songs, all of them. I started to cry during 'Be Not Afraid', which can happen in the best of situations. I couldn't stop all the way, but I closed my eyes and kept singing. I remembered to keep breathing, and I think it was ok.

When I was picking up the music the day before, the church music director asked me, while showing me the particular mass music, what mass form they were singing in Pittsburgh these days. 'I. . . don't. . . know.' 'Oh.' And no more was said. I felt a little guilty, as if I were working under false pretenses, singing during mass. I even said some of the prayers out loud, did the secret Catholic hand signs. I did not receive communion, which I thought would be going a bit far. I can't say that my grandmother would have been happy to have me cantor (and do the secret hand signs), she might have been appalled. For that matter, some of my other, living, family members might have been appalled. But singing was what I could do best, and I did it. My mother said that my voice sounded clear and strong. I got no compliments from my brothers, as expected; the closest was a rather back hand acknowledgment from my middle brother saying that 'Ave Maria was a good choice for you'. Whee hah, hold back the excessive praise, please.

It's very strange to think that my grandmother's generation, for me personally, is gone. I've been promoted up the family tree. That does make me feel old.


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