Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Florence Foster Jenkins lived in New York and in the 1940's, when she herself was well into her 70's, decided to rent Carnegie Hall and perform opera to rally the troops. There is a great documentary, A World of Her Own, on You Tube about the rich socialite with dreams exceeding her talent. Stephen Frears directs Meryl Streep in the recently released version of the Hollywood film. There is a line in the movie that I love, "They can say that I can't sing, but they can't say that I didn't sing."
I saw the film the night before attending my first singing lesson. I showed up to the night class along with the other forty hopefuls. Many seniors, several middle-aged workers, and ten or so young adults. During introductions we heard from people who had been told they couldn't sing in grade school, and now, here they were in their sixties and seventies, figuring, why not? There were others who already sang in church choirs and were looking for some professional voice coaching. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I shared the Florence Foster Jenkins line above.
Going to the Scarborough Uke Jam is fun, and partly because we sing our hearts out as we play. None of the players in the BPYC Uke band, Lost at C, are exceptional singers, but we sing (and beg our audience to sing along with us).
So far I've been to two night classes and there has been some of what I expected... vocal exercises and funny faces and deconstructing songs to look at phrasing (where to take a breath). Also a bit of the unexpected... stretching exercises and yoga to help free the chest, diaphragm, jaw and neck.
I'm not ready to rent Carnegie Hall by any stretch, but then, neither was Florence.
For now I will stick to the shower, uke jam, and strumming with 'Lost at C'.
October 1 is International Music Day. I think I'll celebrate with a few stretches and singing in the shower!