There is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and then there is the rest of us. For regular Sunday church meetings, we Mormons don't rely on any fancy-schmanzy professional choir to transport our spirits to ethereal heights. There are no professional choristers or organists to accompany us in our plain chapels. And we never practice a song with the whole group before performing.
And these are some of the many reasons why my church choir stinks.
Let me preface this by saying that I dearly love my church choir and wouldn't change a thing about it. That being said, we do have certain eccentricities that outsiders may scorn. For example, anyone who accidentally stumbles through the door to our practice room is guilt-tripped into participating in our rag-tag choir. As far as I know, no Mormon has ever been denied a spot in choir, although I've had serious doubts as to the integrity of this method during performances I've winced through in the past. But hey, it's not about talent, it's about ... what is it about again? My choir has been practicing a song for a few months now in order to perform it in today's meeting. Attendance is spotty at our weekly practices and there is no real leadership thanks to a few bossy women (myself included) who think we have all the answers. Our official conductor frequently asks "so what does everything think?" after we practice a song so the floodgates are wide open for anyone and everyone to put in their two cents. 'Too loud!' 'The women aren't enunciating enough!' 'Where's my cue?' 'Who's baby is that banging on the piano?' It's all fun and games until we actually have to sing for people.
This morning we were supposed to meet 1/2 hour before church to run through the song one last time before performing. Two men show up. Two. As usual, we goody-goody church women have out-volunteered the men. We usually can fake a good blend despite our overabundance of estrogen riddled shriekers but two men versus twelve women? Our prospects for an angelic performance were bleak. The first verse of the song was a men's solo and with only two men in attendance, there were some issues. One of the men was good and loud but shockingly tone deaf. The other had a very nice vocal, but sang as loudly as shy ant. We had no resource but to cross our fingers and hope that when it came time to perform, more men from our choir group would join us and spare us from bloody harikiri on the pulpit.
Fortyfive minutes into the program the choir took the stage. I was thrilled to see that four additional men joined us and had high hopes that this song wouldn't crash and burn as it seemed fated to in practice. The piano started playing, the chorister gave the cue to the men, but none of them made a single peep. All the women looked around panicked, the pianist made up some fancy interlude, then started the song over again while the women gave sharp elbows and raised eyebrows to the befuddled men. The second time around, they got it and came in on cue. The real beauty of this situation was that if just ONE of our men had known the slightest thing about the song and had come in alone, things would have been ugly. But because every single one of them missed the cue, the audience probably didn't even realize how badly we blew it. We were saved only by our astounding 100% incompetency rate.
We did a passable job with the song, smiled weakly at the congregation and filed back to our pews. Crisis averted. Until next month that is, when we are supposed to sing for Christmas. I can only hope the solidarity we have shown in lack of talent holds true so no one sticks out and gets embarrassed next time around. But I feel confident that's one goal my darling choir can meet!