Now, that’s my kind of choir

At last, a musical group that will fit me to a “T.”  Or maybe to at least to a High C!

A local Methodist church is developing a new choir called The No-Tones. It’s designed for people like me with “absolutely no musical talent.”

That’s right, a choir for those of us who can’t sing. I like the way they put it in their newspaper announcement: “The No-Tones is looking for adults who cannot sing, cannot read music, cannot dance, have no rhythm, have no idea what music looks like, cannot clap on the beat and have no idea what a beat is.”

They assure us that “no participants will have to sing in front of anyone alone.”

Yes, that’s my kind of choir.

Not that I haven’t tried. Not that I don’t love music.

In fact, for my entire life I have been surrounded by good music of many genres and enjoyed just about all of it.

I grew up in a home where we were introduced early to classical music. We attended free summer outdoor concerts. Our school provided field trips to hear performances by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

At home we were exposed to both the finest in pop music and classical concerts as they were broadcast on the radio. Yes, we also suffered through the interminable Saturday afternoon live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, but that’s another story.

I rejoiced when FM radio came along with hi-fidelity, stereo classical music stations and bought early LPs of Beethoven and Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Later it was cassettes and now CDs and MP3 albums of the masters.

In fact, I have several almost-full MP3 players, one with multiple albums of the classics, including a growing sub-hobby of obtaining classical music performed by outstanding Latin American symphony orchestras. (That interest comes from our many years living south of the Rio Grande and attending live concerts in some of the region’s most beautiful grand theaters).

Another player is filled with over 3,000 songs primarily from the 50s, 60s and 70s—music by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, the Carpenters, Neil Diamond, Simon and Garfunkel and a host of others.

I enjoy these styles of music so much I have even considered offering to produce and host a radio or podcast program featuring Latin American symphony orchestras and another that would feature several hours a once a week with some of the great American standards.

In fact, over the years, my contribution to music appreciation has been to play music on the radio. Eight years part-time at a pop music station in the 80s, eight more years at a Christian international station in Ecuador, and even parts of three summers volunteering several hours a week at a multi-format station in Central Asia.

For those who say my musical abilities can’t be so bad, consider this: In my college days I decided one year to sing with the school’s annual performance of the Messiah. I figured that in a big crowd like that, no one would notice my off-key performance.

How wrong I was. By the second week the director had pointed several times toward the section of the choir where I was singing saying, “someone up there is singing off-key.” I dropped out and they told me that he never said that again.

Then there was the incident in a church where I was the pastor. Since there was no song leader, I decided to stand in front of one of the microphones to encourage the congregation to sing. It seemed to be helping a bit (perhaps they were singing louder to drown me out.)

However, after two weeks of this attempt, a woman in the church nursery where the service could be heard over a loud-speaker system kindly but firmly asked me not to sing in front of the mike. “Your singing is making the children cry,” she informed me.

So, perhaps The No-Tones is just my opportunity. I may stop by their next rehearsal—if I’m back on time from my audition with the Atlanta Opera.

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