Christmas gifts

Merry Christmas dear readers! I hope you got the gifts you were hoping for, and the ones you found for your favorite people surprised and delighted them.


This is also a time of year for singing. Last Sunday I got to hear an amazing rendition of Bach’s Magnificat. A live orchestra sat in the front and a choir was behind. The program listed the soloists, and as I read ahead I noticed three people with the same last name. How sweet! A musical family, each singing a different part in this performance.


I have never been part of an official choir. I have a good voice, but I wouldn’t know what part I sang. Once I found myself at a public event and we were supposed to act like a choir.  The director asked people to group themselves according to their voice.


On the break I went up to ask him what my category was. He had me sing along to a few notes and declared me a second soprano.


I was offended. Why couldn’t I be first soprano? Why should I be second best?


A few years later I had a chance to get a little more in depth with a voice teacher. She took the time to really let me sing, and said I had a good range. I asked her if I could work on making my voice lower, because by then I thought deep was sexy.


She said there were things one could do, but it would probably mean losing my ability on the high notes.


The mother of the musical family sang her solo first, a clear resonant second soprano. A bit later, the daughter took her place and sang the Latin in a luminous first soprano.


I remembered my absurd struggle to find my place in the structure of a choir. These people obviously had developed what they were given, but they were all working with what they had. It is way past time for me to wish I were other than exactly what I am.


They were singing the song of Mary. She was a young teenage girl, didn’t have much to offer. She wasn’t powerful or experienced. But when the Angel Gabriel said she would get pregnant, she said “Let it be with me as God wills.” She had a fertile body, if nothing else. And she let that be used. Jesus was born and the world was changed.


We’ve all got to use what we’ve got. I don’t know the depth and breadth of my own vocal range but I can open my mouth and sing Joy to the World. I can be surprised over and over again at who I can be and what I can do. I am as God made me, and that is the best gift I will ever receive.


This is how I plan to change the world.