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Sing Song, Seven Years Later: Part IV

February 22, 2010

Thursday night, Katie and I were blown away by the 2010 Sing Song performance. I’ve either been a part of or attended Sing Song every year since I started at ACU in 2002, performing with the class of 2006, my social club (Pi Kappa), and as a Sing Song host. (For those non-ACUers who read my blog, check out Thursday’s post for a brief description of Sing Song.) This weekend (well, and Monday), I’m dedicating my blog to Sing Song memories and photos.

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My dad was a song leader at various little country churches, and I led singing with him on more than one occasion. I started singing in choir when I was six, and participated in a variety of different singing groups (church-related, all-city boys choir, and a chamber choir to go with regular middle school and high school choir programs).

I started taking voice lessons when I was a junior in high school. My first voice teacher, Ms. Harmon, was wonderfully encouraging and helped me explore my range; specifically, she taught me how to mix my chest voice and head voice to help me sing higher. I never received any big achievements in high school–we had I believe 11 all-staters my senior year, and I wasn’t one of them.

When I got to college, Dr. Cawood was my voice teacher. She is an incredibly talented, hilarious individual. I’m not sure I learned anything from her I didn’t already know, but she loved to hear me sing and told me I was the best non-major she had. Which is probably what I needed most, seeing that I didn’t believe that I had a good voice until I was about 21.

Dr. Mike was my next voice teacher–I took from him after Dr. Cawood retired. Dr. Mike is the former choir director at ACU and one of my favorite people on campus. He taught me the mechanics of singing, teaching me (through individual lessons and a vocal pedagogy class I took) that singing involves every bone in my body and that the most efficient sound comes from manipulating my body (feet, back, neck, etc.) in a way that helps sound come out most fluidly. He also taught me how to breathe by expanding my lower abdominal muscles–I could really spend an entire blog post on this, but I’ll spare you. For now.

My other two voice teachers were Kendall and Vivi. I didn’t pay them for their services–they were our vocal coaches for Sing Song–but I feel like I learned as much about singing from them as from any other voice teachers. Being a Sing Song host in 2007 taught me how to perform and sing stylistically.

My solo was “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel. I had honestly never heard of it before 2007, but once I memorized and practiced it for the first time, I feel like I got the song–I kinda sounded like Billy Joel on the CD. As we worked, Kendall talked with me about the story behind the lyrics–the independent attitude of Anthony (the narrator)–and started thinking about how to project that with my voice. And my wardrobe–check how the sweet hat.

The toughest song for me to do (even tougher than the gospel piece I mentioned Saturday) was Cruisin, by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow. Evidently, I was Huey and Shaylee was Gwyneth for the song. Anyway, Shaylee and I have completely different voices–mine is more classically trained, and Shaylee’s voice sounds like a jazz club set. Cruisin taught me how to sing with other people–Kendall and Vivi tried everything to jazz up and soften my voice, and I don’t really feel like I got it until the day of the show. I actually don’t remember the lightswitch moment when I figured it out–I remember more the constant rehearsal on this song and Shaylee’s patience as I tried to figure out what I was doing. I do remember two adages from Vivi that I think helped me figure that song out: 1) Put breath in the tone, and 2) Your face should hurt a little bit when you’re singing pop and jazz.

Along with the other five hosts and hostesses, I’m thankful for Kendall and Vivi for their friendship and trust in me as a singer and as a person. These memories are life-long, and I thank you (blog-world) for letting me reminisce.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 24, 2010 10:42 pm

    Hey Buddy. I never actually got to see sing song that year, so it was really cool to read this little series you did. I don’t have much to say in the way of dialogue, just here to let you know I’m reading. You don’t have a follow button like we do over on blogspot, but I linked you from my spot.

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