Day 1 9.21.2013
We are halfway through Day 2 of my Three Week Journey of rehabilitation and recovery from a Vocal Hemorrhage. Here's what yesterday (Day 1) brought me. Water. Lots and lots of water. I feel like I'm going to float away. Yesterday I drank about a gallon and a half of water, throughout the day. Now, don't get me wrong - this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Hydration is key (next to the whole no speaking or singing thing). But man, is it dull. I can't have soda, I can't have tea. I can have my morning coffee and one cup of green tea in the evening, but the rest of the day, it's good ol' reliable H2O. A residual effect of the hemorrhage is that that I'm constantly thirsty, so I always WANT to drink something. So I don't entirely mind that I have a beverage at the ready, but man, water just gets old after a while. And by "a while", clearly I mean one day. In reality, I know they're going to tell me that staying this uber hydrated all of the time is a good thing, which means this whole business of drinking three times as much water as I normally would is going to become my new normal. But man is it boring.
Plus I now have to be in close proximity to a bathroom at all times. Because you do NOT want to experience me if I can't flush all of this water out when I need to. Trust me on this. It's not a pretty sight.
Day 2 9.22.2013
Today was my first public outing where I had to come face to face with not being able to sing. I went to church.
I was hired by Trinity Episcopal Church in September of 1993 to join Trinity Choir's soprano section. Back then, I remember Professor Dashnaw, my conducting professor and Director of Choral Music, telling me that a 'church gig' was the best job a singer could get, and for a soprano was almost impossible, because sopranos are a dime a dozen and once a soprano lands a church gig, they never leave. So just being invited to audition was a big deal, then landing the gig was HUGE! And, after twenty years, I can tell you, no other soprano is getting that gig until I am good and ready to give it up!
However, what do you do with a soprano who can't sing?
Well, if you're Martha Regelmann, Director of Music at Trinity Church, you have your soprano conduct the choir. On a morning where I was planning on finding a quiet place in the back of the church to sit silently, I got a text message that read, "Feel like conducting this morning?" And ... BANG! I was back in the game! And while I would never wish what I'm going through on anyone, I do think that every choral or group singer should have the opportunity to stand in front of a group of singers and listen - really listen. Pitch, diction, dynamics ... all things that as an individual singer I pay attention to, with my own voice. But step back from the tree to see (or hear) the forest. I was so much more aware of other sections' entrances, because they were looking to me to lead them. I was surprised to see where I (and my section) had not been singing a correct rhythm pattern. And I had to have a completely different relationship with Martha. Normally, when I'm singing and she is playing, we are so in sync with one another - it's like we breathe at the same time. With me conducting and her playing, it was a whole other kettle of fish. As I don't have many opportunities to stand in front of the choir, even though I've studied choral conducting, I am always amazed at just how much of a musician and technician it takes to lead a group in song.
So, I did get to sing in church after all. I just didn't use MY voice. I used twelve other voices, instead. And that was pretty cool.