Yes, I was a member of my high school’s Glee Club. I also sang in a specialized group called the A Cappella Choir, where we were often singled out to do solos while the rest of the group backed us up. I also sang in a trio we named “The Three Lindas,” as we were three of a kind, and we sang the trendy songs of our era.
Did this make us stand out in a crowd? Probably. But not in any way we welcomed. Often, despite the fact that we sounded pretty good, like the kids on “Glee,” we were mocked for our efforts to produce reasonable renditions of our favorite songs.
So you might ask if this was the result of our efforts, why did we bother? It’s because…we sang. We didn’t play sports; we didn’t attempt to run the politics of student council and we didn’t party hardy. We sang.
While I was in high school, I never realized how nerdy I must have seemed. My friends and I…the other two Lindas…went to classes, studied in the library, and waited with anticipation for every Glee Club practice. There were about 50 of us all together, singled out in groups for our voice range, vibrado and power to sustain the notes to the end of a phrase. There were no smokers in this group; we all understood the limitations that cigarettes would place on our talents.
I now watch the TV show, "Glee," that features the derision that kids who don’t play sports or rule the councils often face. We held no power or popularity within our class. There wasn’t a Lady Ga Ga or Adam Lambert among us. We just sang. And I can tell you, there are rare moments of warmth and harmony than being surrounded by other clear and robust vocals when we merged our voices in practice or performance.
So I can say with certainty that I never wanted to be a cheerleader; I didn’t have that bendable talent or body type. I certainly didn’t want to play field hockey because I hated the thought of a puck flying toward my face. And I certainly didn’t want to run for student office. I really hate to compete. All I wanted to do was sing; so that’s what I did.
Once in college, I learned from my boyfriend how to play the guitar and I sang with him and our buddies who also must have been in Glee Club in high school.
When I started teaching elementary school, I used the guitar and my widening index of songs to help my students learn all kinds of things. It also calmed the class after particularly difficult days in the heat and humidity that welcomed summer. My own children benefited from this trait of mine. I sang to them with the guitar from the time they were infants and we continued to sing together as they got older.
Now that they are grown, we only talk about the songs we used to sing, as the guitar rests against a wall in the living room. “You Are My Sunshine” used to make my older daughter cry. Now, only the mention of that song makes her cry again. Sometimes,I dust off my guitar and wax up the wood. But for some reason, it and my singing voice have been on hold, as time transferred my traits and talents to other sources for my energy.
But I’ll never forget that time in my life when singing and playing my guitar to Peter, Paul and Mary songs took up so much of my time in that wonderful part of my life. I wonder what it would feel like to put new strings on my guitar, tune it up and try it out again. Is it time to put it away in a closet for good, or reconnect with music and my instrument and the best part of my past?