I have always loved music, it’s my driving force, and I’ve been singing in one form or another since I was three years old. I do have particular tastes when it comes to “my” music, however, and my husband knows this. My true talent lies in country but my heart and soul belong to rock…and I don’t mean soft rock, although I love it all. I love hard, metal, loud, in your face kind of rock-the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Korn and Alice in Chains, to name a few. We subscribe to Sirius/XM and my station is the Octane channel and rarely ever leaves it.
All that being said, you can imagine my husband’s shock and awe when I made the decision (about 15 years ago) to join a barbershop group called The Sweet Adelines, an international singing group with chapters everywhere. I don’t remember the name of the particular group I was with but they are now The Lonestar Chapter, which is in Region 10-Great Gulf Coast (even though we are no where near the coast), they must encompass the area between here and Houston. Now, this type of singing is about as far from rock as you’re ever gonna get, but I needed an outlet, a place to be able to sing out loud, with other ladies who wanted to do the same. I had found a family. Barbershop is typically sang in groups of four people, but we were a barbershop chorus, sometimes breaking off in smaller groups for solos and special appearances.
For a while, I was in Heaven. We practiced weekly and did shows, concerts and events and I was part of something potentially big. It was so fun to not only get the chance to sing and perform, but to get dressed up, made up and go on stage and be able to make people smile. We did shows in nursing homes sometimes, which for me was especially gratifying after working in a couple so many years prior. My husband would tease me and say he couldn’t believe I was singing with the “blue hairs” but I didn’t care, I loved it and it was my “thing”, kind of like golf is his right now. Months into it, we went to competition down in Beaumont, close to where I would end up living for five years some time later, and that was so exciting to me. Of course, we sang all the way down and all the way back, on a bus, an adventure I wouldn’t wish on anyone…but it was ok at the time. We got to wear extravagant, glittery costumes and perform for judges for the title of best chorus and it was fulfilling, it was fellowship, and honestly, it got me out of the rut I had found myself in of work, home, repeat, and I needed that in my life. I don’t know why it attracts mostly older ladies, I was one of the younger in the group, although we had a couple of teenagers too.
After singing and performing for about a year, the expense became too much and the weekly practice was more time consuming than I could handle (it was 30 minutes away) so I dropped out. There are times when I fantasize about rejoining (I’m closer to being a “blue hair” myself now) but I think about the cost and the the time commitment and that holds me in place. I barely have time for my writing, plus everything that needs to be done around the house, should I really be chasing a singing career too? No, my time has passed for that, I will simply have to keep on singing to the car radio (by myself at the top of my lungs sometimes) and karaoke with my friend Michelle, anytime we get the urge. (to the disdain of our partners, lol) I still have my memories of my brief but lovely time spent with the Sweet Adelines, singing tunes in the barbershop fashion and spreading joy wherever we went. We even got to sing at the renowned Bass Hall once, although it was the outer entrance, not the main stage. Who am I to quibble over minor details?
My real dream had been to be a lead singer in a rock band, which I chased for a while when I was younger. I did have bands and performed lead singing for awhile, but my bandmates did not have the desire to make it like I did. Singing with the chorus filled a need in me for a while and I’m proud to have been part of it, even though it was a short time. (I have included a picture of the current group of our region here in central Texas) It was the closest I have ever come to being a professional singer and even though I would never have become a star, I really enjoyed being in a internationally known music group, and we were good, darn it!