Singing at home

Dealing with post-convention let-down

The All-California Convention, which ended yesterday, was a wonderful singing: not only were there lots of powerful singers present, but the general feeling was warm and friendly. But now it’s over, and given my work schedule it’s unlikely I will be able to attend again until it comes back to the Bay area in three years. This morning I was tired and cranky and glad I didn’t have to go into the office — I had a full-blown case of post-convention let-down.

The best cure for such a thing is to attend another singing. And the weekly Berkeley singing was perfectly timed. Several out-of-town singers stayed over from the convention, and we had singers from Los Angeles, Washington state, and New Jersey. We also had some new singers who had sung from the Sacred Harp for the first time at the convention, and one new singer who had found us on the Web the night before and showed up to sing for the very first time.

At the peak attendance just before the break, I counted 29 singers, which was a good turnout indeed. We didn’t sound our best on the first few tunes. You could tell that many of us had spent a dozen or more hours singing over the past two days: voices were a little rough, our intonation was off, people sounded a little tired. But as we warmed up, the singing got better and better, and all those strong out-of-town voices energized us regular singers.

During the break, another one of the basses mentioned that the convention had made his singing noticeably better. I said I felt the same way. Later, I realized this has not been the case with every all-day singing or convention I’ve attended; something about the quality of the singing at the recent All-Cal seems to have rewired my brain and reshaped my voice so that it’s easier to sight-read, and easier to produce a good true tone.

And then, wouldn’t you know it: on the last tune of the night tonight, we in the bass section flubbed an entrance. We are not perfect singers yet; we’ll just have to keep singing until we are.