Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't Touch My Heine

Four hours of tech. Four more hours of orchestra sitzprobe. Add on another two hours spent at church rehearsing and cantoring. I'm one pooped singer! Usually we singers prefer to only rehearse or perform no more than three -- maybe four -- hours tops per day. We're such delicate creatures. And we must preserve the voce so that we are able to access only the prime vocal quality at all times for our ever-adoring public.

Yeah. Though the previous statements are based in truth, they certainly are far from reality. The exertion and energy expended today is tough on a singer, but it is something we must endure. And though we do prefer to be able to access our "top voice", the only time we hit the prime vocal quality is usually a moment in the shower or automobile or some other totally inaccessible location where no one hears us. The other 99% of the time we are struggling to sing through some sort of vocal malfunction. Samples of said vocal malfunctions can be caused by any of the following:

1. Waking up. Any singer who tries to vocalize right after their alarm clock shatters their slumber will find that portraying a sick frog is more likely be the only role available. I prefer not to even hum a note before noon. Mostly I'd rather not sing at all until after 3 pm. Ok, let's say I'd just as well sing around midnight. That's when the voice is probably warmed up best.

2. Alcohol. Sure, we singers like to drink the beers after a rehearsal or performance. But we pay dearly the next day when the post-alcohol dehydrated vocal chords go on strike. But again, when are we ever at peak performance anyway? Let's drink up -- and don't touch my Heine!

3. Breathing. Yes, simply breathing can knock the voice onto the disabled list. Dry air, moist air, dust, pollens, errant gnats that get sucked down one's throat. All these are detrimental. As I said, our poor voices are delicate instruments.

4. Having relations. You've heard that "sex weakens the knees!" But we don't need our knees! However, after an enjoyable lusty romp in the sack I find that my vocal range drops about an octave. Great for if I need to sing something out of the Russian basso-profondo repertoire, but usually I'm hired to sing something on or above the bass clef.

So there it is. I'm pooped and ready for a full day off tomorrow for rest and rejuvenation. In that case, pass me that Heine!


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