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Long before I started writing, another constant passion of mine was singing. In fact, there was a period in my life in which I wanted to be a professional singer.

The dream, after a while, morphed into something more… down-to-earth, though my passion to belt out a tune certainly didn’t. I broke out singing every chance I could – in the car, either on my way to work, or as a passenger travelling to friend’s/in-laws’ houses or weekend getaway destination with my husband; around the house, whether I’m chopping vegetables for dinner or late at night in the midst of writing; in the shower (that goes without saying, right?), mastering the art and skills required to opening my mouth and carrying out a tune without gulping a substantial amount of shower water in the process.

Yes, I really do have a set of waterproof headphones and real microphone in the shower... not!

I have a collection of my favourite songs I sing from time to time. No, I’ll take another step back and say that from time to time, I will play certain songs I’ve encountered, sometimes more than once, and test my singing ability until I can sing as good as the artist. ‘See The Light’ by Mandy Moore, the soundtrack from the movie ‘Tangled’ falls into this category (just as many of the early Disney movie soundtracks did); ‘On My Own’ and ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from musical Les Miserables are there too; ‘Just A Feeling’ by Maroon 5; most of Lee Dewyze’s songs; and the list go on.

I have always stated to those who knew of my singing ability that I can, and love to sing; I can read music – know the difference between a full-note, a half-note and treble notes; I can count beats; I am in no way a professional singer, and my ‘training’ (if you could call it that) consisted solely on being part of the school choir for… 12 years or so (from primary to high school).

This ability, however, has become very useful at work when we are celebrating liturgies/masses throughout the year, from Easter, to Catholic Education week, to end-of-year mass like yesterday. And whereas back in the main head office, I was one voice of many, in the current branch I’m working in, I have been the only voice.

Throughout this year, I had been singing solo, and unaccompanied. Which suited me fine to a certain extent, because no one will know if I’m pitchy or didn’t quite hit the right notes – they will just go along with the notes I’ve sung. On the other hand though… I’m all for sharing the love, and the limelight 🙂 I want that little bit of leniency that when my voice isn’t up to scratch, or when I’m about to run out of breath, someone else can take over for just a little while until I gain my momentum back.

So imagine my excitement when, in preparation for the end-of-year liturgy, a few people have come forward, lending their singing talent and guitar-playing ability. All week long, I have done several real-life and cyberspace squealing to the person co-ordinating all aspects of the mass at the fact that this time around, we have a band!!!!

I soon found out that not everyone share the same singing passion as myself. What I thought would be natural (like being able to read music, or perfectly adapt one’s voice to the rise and fall of a song with a click of a finger) was actually something that took years and years of practice. One of these singers actually even confided in me: I love to sing, but I can’t read music.

So I found myself leading the band, guiding the other members to hit the right notes, taking on several songs by my lonesome and singing it (once again) unaccompanied. And God help me, I found myself having to curb a lot of my perfectionism; I had had to suppress that little voice inside my head that said “all of us are singing all over the place!” or “No, that’s NOT the right notes!” (Oh Dear, I think I just caught a glimpse of what I would be like if I’m ever responsible to manage a bunch of staff in my later years). I had to constantly remind myself that work’s end-of-year mass is NOT the final of Australian Idol; that starting with less than a ‘bang!’ and pitch problems were parts of all normal singing process. And that, from singing solo to having a band, we have grown in leaps and bounds.

What about you? Do you have a passion that brings out the best (or perhaps worst) of your perfectionism?

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