So I'm a part of a barbershop quartet. The group is composed of myself (tenor), Dissertation Man (lead), Captain Americanist (baritone), and our bass-in-need-of-a-nickname (the aforementioned Tennessee Stretch, who objects and yet will not provide an alternative. Maybe Pseudobass). At the moment we are working on one song, "Sweet Adeline," in order to be able to perform it at department follies this year. Will we get there? Uncertain at this point, as it depends on how much work the others are willing to put in. But we still have quite a ways to go.
Now, our situation is complicated by the fact that most of the others can't read music and have no real experience singing beyond Karaoke Revolution. Our bass can't always hit the low notes, and our lead claims he forgets the melody the more he practices. As I have been singing since grade school (thanks to my ham of a grandfather and my early love of movie-musicals), naturally it falls to me to musically direct our little endeavor. This in spite of the fact that I cannot actually play the keyboard I own (I can plink out notes and recognize them, but not play anything beyond a simple scale), and that I have a freakishly high voice that doesn't always allow me to sing the same notes as those I am trying to teach. We're like the Bad News Bears of the barbershop world, in other words.
Now this has several benefits, which I shall enumerate at length:
1. I get to sing again. I did choir four years in high school, a plethora of musicals in both high school and college, and I was in an a cappella group for two years in college. Getting to sing again now, after so much time, is something I've really missed. So that makes it awesome in and of itself.
2. I actually use the knowledge my parents paid a large sum of money to obtain. I took three years of voice lessons in high school and four in college, knowing full well that I wanted to be an English major and would never practically use these skills beyond my undergrad dalliances. The fact that I actually get to teach these things back to my compatriots makes me feel like I wasn't just wasting my time and my parents' money. So mom and dad, this one's for you!
3. I get to annoy my upstairs neighbor. I hold one-on-one rehearsals at my place, as I have the keyboard. I imagine hearing "Sweet Adeline" over and over can be irritating to outsiders. However, given that my neighbor is either a spousal abuser or a horrible pet owner (judging by the several times I've heard very loud yelling, all one-sided, from his apartment), I don't feel too bad about this. If he can't take an hour of disturbance on a Saturday afternoon, he can move out. I've been here longer, I have that right.
I imagine there are other benefits I haven't thought of yet, and I will add them if they occur to me. And I'll keep posting on our progress, including our hope to eventually move on to "Baby On Board," written by Homer J. Simpson and arranged by my friend Sergio.
As for now, having survived the hellish week, I plan to go spend money. Gift certificate + 25% educator discount = Borders fun. Time to go feed the addiction.