Sing for your supper

This is the first of my posts responding to a request.  This post is in response to @greengecko29. Here’s the exchange:

So here goes…

I learned piano in my lunch break at school from age 7 until I was 10.  I changed schools and I was unable to continue taking lessons.  I’d kinda lost interest in playing anyway so I wasn’t that bothered.

When I was 11 I met one of my cousins in Ireland for the first time and I learned that he was a brilliant pianist, organist and guitarist.  I learned that fact after I had embarrassed myself by showing off my musical skills on the piano which, frankly, were dreadful.

This was the turning point in my musical “career”.  When I got home to Australia, I set about dragging out my old music books and teaching myself as much as I could.  I’d play my mum’s old Baldwin organ (which she still has!) and I’m quite certain it was torture to my family but they rarely complained.  They just let me do my thing.

When I was 15, the organist in our church got a teaching post in a remote location.  That meant there was no organist for Saturday night Mass.  After Mass one night there was a discussion about what they were going to do when Joe left.  My dad proudly piped up, “Fiona can play the organ”.  I wasn’t party to the discussion or else I would have said, “No I can’t!”  But I wasn’t there.  The arrangements were made and I had no say.  I was the new Saturday night organist.  A retired organist filled in for a few weeks while I learned the order of things and tried to build a bit of a repertoire.

My first night was 26 January 1991.  I was to play the communion hymn.  It was “Only a Shadow”.  I practiced that damned piece for about 3 hours a day every day for 3 weeks.  I still shudder when I hear it.

I have been playing the organ in church ever since then.

As for my singing…  I remember singing as far back as the age of 3 (yes, I have a long memory!)  I was in the school choir from Grade 8 to Grade 10 (1988-1990) and we did a few concerts so that was my first introduction to public performance.

I didn’t sing at Mass initially as I already had a wonderful singer whom I accompanied.  But gradually I began to sing along and, before I knew it, there was a microphone in front of me.  I always preferred to have a singer rather than lead the singing myself but somewhere along the line I have found that I really enjoy singing…perhaps even more than playing the organ.

In 2007, I became the Music Co-ordinator in my parish which means I do the rostering of singers and musicians and the troubleshooting and liaising with the priest on musical matters and attending liturgy committee meetings and about a thousand other things to do with church music.  So it’s little wonder that most of the music I play and sing is religious.  However, religious music can range from the ancient to the classical through to folk and pop.  I love them all.

As for secular music, I find that I love to sing music that you may have heard sung by Mama Cass, Karen Carpenter and Shirley Bassey.  My vocal range seems to fit well with these women.  I’m also fond of singing along with Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Feist, Regina Spektor and a few others.  But, hey, I’ll sing anything!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs to sing…and a great song about singing (and eating!)

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3 Responses to Sing for your supper

  1. Penny says:

    thank you! very interesting 🙂 I also love to sing and have been in choirs at various times. I would love to have proper lessons one of these days…

  2. Ruth Baxter says:

    That’s so interesting. My dad had a small organ, and later was a church organist. I wanted so badly to play the organ too, however Dad deemed I had to learn the piano properly first, and then I could go onto organ. I don’t think I made it past Level 3 on piano so it didn’t happen. I just listen to Dad, who’s now loving recently found access to Theatre Organs. During my piano exams I had to sing a few notes, and I was really bad at this, so I had 2 years of singing lessons. My poor teacher. She did an excellent job with a poor instrument. I learnt from middle c to the next c (8 torturously fought notes) for a short period, however now am hopelessly out of tune again. Once a year I go to the Welsh Church in Melbourne for their St.Davids Day Cymanfu Ganu (singing festival). Everyone there sings old favourite hymns with gusto and even harmonising; so I feel free to bellow as no one can hear my little out of tune bits. Very refreshing for the soul!

  3. kim says:

    A talent I envy… I am a big fan of music for the soul!

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