My word for 2017 was Brave. All year long I tried to step out of my comfort zone a little bit, and do the things I might otherwise shy away from because I’m nervous, self-conscious or afraid. One of the things that has always been on my bucket list was to join a choir, so last year, I decided to be brave and just did it. I looked up a few local choirs online, made a choice and jumped in.
I started off with another interested friend, but it didn’t work out for her and I ended up on my own. I didn’t know anyone, but I stuck with it and began to meet a few people. Most of the members were older than I am, but I’ve never cared about that. The music was lively and fun, and it challenged me because this choir didn’t use sheet music, just lyric sheets and audio tracks. It was a completely different way of learning music for me, and while part of me longed for the notes and chords, I liked that it stretched me a little.
I joined at the end of September, and everything went really well until December.
There was someone in the choir with a scent allergy, and I tried to be really sensitive to that. We usually use the scent free laundry detergent, I’m not a big scent wearer, and I tried to be cautious with my hair products on choir days. At each choir practice the director continued to remind us to be scent free, and the reminders starting coming more often and getting a little more intense with each passing week. There were anywhere from 30-40 other women in the choir so I knew it might well not be me causing problems, but since the reminders apparently started coming in greater frequency since I joined with a few other new ladies, I felt a little singled out.
First they recommended buying scent free laundry detergents, then not washing hair on choir days, then avoiding scented deodorant on choir days, then the choir director told us that she just didn’t shower on choir days and encouraged us to do the same.
…it just felt weird. Of course I would never want to jeopardize someone’s health, but I’m also not going to give up my shower. Shower time is sacred, blessed alone time that I need to start my day.
By January the constant barrage of scent free reminders was impacting my experience in the choir. It started making me really paranoid, and I felt like I was doing scent checks constantly before walking in each week.
So, when it came time to renew my membership for the spring session, I opted out. My second course was starting and I joined the choir for a night out, not to add to my stress. It felt like the right decision, and to be honest, I haven’t regretted it.
Then I watched General Conference and saw The Tabernacle Choir (watch that) perform and I felt that longing again. I miss being involved with music. I miss performing. I think I’d still like to try and find a local choir, the one I tried just wasn’t the right fit for me. I’d like to be able to sing and not be stressed out about whether or not the hypoallergenic lotion I used hours ago is causing someone distress.
So, the hunt is on again. I don’t know how on earth I’ll squeeze it in now that I’m back at work, but I’m willing to try.
I think perhaps I should wait until this cold passes though… my alto voice currently sounds more like an off key baritone donkey. It’s so lovely.