A Heavenly Choir of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Singers

December 21, 2009

I'm not a singer by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason, probably because of the holidays, I've got choirs on the mind. We've been listening to a lot of Mormon Tabernacle Choir lately, or MoTab, as my people like to call it--kind of like JayZ, but a lot more wholesome.

Last night, as Jared and I were hucking dirty laundry at each other, saying things like, "Get your skanky underoos off my side of the bed!" he suddenly changed the subject and said, "I bet your church had an awesome choir when you were growing up."

That's when I froze, dropped the underpants on the hardwood, and said, "I'm sorry, but we can't stay married for another moment, Jared. You know nothing about my childhood. It's like I'm sleeping with a stranger."

In other words, St. Brigid's choir was horrendous.

Actually, it was beyond horrendous.

Every single Sunday, I'd quietly pray for a miracle. More specifically, I'd pray that Jesus would show his face to the choir and say, "Please, my brothers and sisters, please stop singing. Sing no more. I command ye to stoppeth your singing. Fill your mouths with these loaves and fishes so that ye may stoppest your voices."

And when that never worked, I prayed for an invisible walkman.

And when that never worked, I thought about bagels.

See, my church was tricky. It had a huge vaulted ceiling, dark wood, red carpets, super intricate stained-glass. There were fancy statues, and a beautiful, booming organ. All signs pointed to a heavenly chorus of voices--and all signs were horribly, terribly misleading. If there had been a literal sign, it should have been a big, yellow arrow, pointed straight up to choir loft saying, "CAUTION: VERY ELDERLY PEOPLE ARE SINGING UP THERE, AND THEY'RE DOING IT WITH GUSTO."

I still remember one Christmas Eve service in particular--I must have been nine or ten years old. The choir was belting out their rendition of Oh, Holy Night, and I was squirming around in the pew, trying to will my ear canals to collapse shut.

Finally, when I couldn't handle it for another second, I leaned my head into my mom's ear and whispered, "Mom, it's like I'm chewing on a tin-foil ball."

And she was like, "Amy! Shhhhh! That's rude!"

So I turned to my father and said, "Hey Dad, remember that time you made me lick that 9-volt battery?"

He nodded.

"It feels like it's still on my tongue."

He nodded again and said, "I hear ya, Squirt."

These days, we live far away from St. Brigid Church, and have settled on a street with moderate-to-severe drainage issues. It's funny, but every time my neighbor's cat gets lodged in the underground drainage pipe, its hissing and screaming brings me right back to my childhood days, and I just can't help but look up at the sky and say, "Really? You could part the Red Sea but you couldn't give a girl an invisible walkman?"

Some things will always be a mystery...


Michemily said...

I read that second sentence out loud to my family. Ha.

Mindy said...

My ward choir has like 5 people in it, and boy are they LOUD. I think old people and preschoolers have the same mindset when it comes to singing... the louder you sing, the better it sounds. ;)

Bahston Beans said...

I still really liked the glove clips on those pews.

funderson said...

awesome...simply awesome...

saundra said...

Took me back to my childhood. Thank you so much, Amy!!! Just when the scarred eardrums had healed...not to mention my damaged psyche.

Grandma said...

Oh Lordy Amy, when I read the name of the church I gasped out loud...or I guess I should say GOL....The fact the you didn't put Church of the Divine Intervention or St. Mary's or Our Lady of Sacred End Spot. And girls, do you remember the sound of Pat's head hitting the pew when he fell asleep at midnight Mass? I can still hear that thud he made!Ouch!And yes, Kel, the glove clips provided entertainment for me during many a sermon,too.

Amy said...

Mom...I was planning to change the name, but then I figured that every member of the choir has probably passed on to the other side by now. And if they haven't, they're probably not crusing around on the internet.

Grandma said...

Amy, I can just hear my voice saying that to you and I can hear Dad with his "squirt" response to you!!!

Katy said...

They WERE that bad. Do you remember when my job in graduate school was to cantor at church and be a section leader for them? Nice folks, but dang. DANG.

(They paid well)

(Oh, and I loved Jesus.)

(But really, they paid well.)

Mary said...

The Methodist church I attended in high school had an awesome youth choir. It was fun, we had a great director, we sounded good and all my friends were there. As my kids were growing up, I was always a little tempted to go scout out a local Methodist church with a good youth choir. I felt bad that they couldn't have the sort of experience I had in the LDS church.

Grandma said...

very nice Katy, but they needed kazoos instead:)

Heather of the EO said...

ME TOO. (the part about not being able to sing and also wishing for an invisible walkman at my childhood church)


Merry Christmas, you!

Anonymous said...

Funniest post I've read all week! Thanks for the good belly laugh. (they say it's therapeutic - plus, maybe I even burned a few calories)

Whenever I hear voices raising a "Joyful Noise" that is more "Noise" than "Joy" I am reminded just how loving and patient our Heavenly Father really is! :)

Karen said...

I sang in the choir at church when I was a teenager. It was the early 70's and every mass at 9am on Sunday was a "folk mass" with guitars. Loved it!

Anonymous said...