So here we are almost “officially” in fall. I’m busy gearing up for the Christmas Caroling season and getting ready for my Disney trip next week.
The title of this blog post is the name of an old hymn that was revitalized by many famous folk singers a few decades ago. (My favorite version is the Enya one, of course.) The song has several versions of the lyrics, but for me, no matter the specific lyrics, it’s always had a message of finding hope in song. No matter what happens – the joys, the sorrows – how can I keep from singing? I must sing!
So with that, I say that I am also starting to sing again.
You might ask, “but why weren’t you singing, Jen?”
Well, some of you may recall that back in May I went over to do that last minute audition in Vienna – and got horribly sick on the way home. I had the worst respiratory infection of my life. The coughing was so bad some nights I literally couldn’t breathe – each breath made me cough. It was torture. And for the first time ever, I had a stabbing pain in my larynx every time I coughed. Like I was being stabbed with a knife in my throat. At the beginning of the infection, I couldn’t phonate at all. Then after a few days of coughing up green crud, I was at least able to speak. I still used my voice as little as possible. And especially no singing. (And all the doctor could tell me was that it was a viral infection and that I’d have to wait it out.)
Once my speaking voice got back to *almost* normal, I started singing again. But my voice was weird. It wouldn’t respond the way I was used to. I was especially having issues in the lower part of my mixed voice – just above the lower passagio. (In layman’s terms, that’s the place where you have one of the breaks in your voice, between the different registers.) Anyway, I kept my singing to a bare minimum as I was worried that something had happened during all that coughing. (Yes, I probably should have gone to the ENT, but I think part of me was afraid of what I would find out if I did. I decided to wait it out and just not do a lot of singing.)
In the meantime, I was missing out on auditions for fall shows. Spring is when the auditions for fall shows often happen. There were two auditions I especially wanted to do, but I couldn’t. It sucked.
Before I knew it, two months had gone by and my voice was finally starting to feel somewhat responsive again. Then I left for vacation. As you all know, I had my week long cruise with my family and then three weeks in Croatia with Miloš, followed by a few days in Vienna. Of course, five of us ended up getting sick on the cruise – I started feeling sick the day I was flying from Amsterdam to Croatia. (My dad was the first one with it – he was sick the last few days of the cruise. Then my mom…) And before I knew it, I had a sinus infection for two weeks. I kind of glossed over that in my other trip blog entries. But let’s just say that the Adriatic Sea acquired a lot of Jen-snot over the course of those two weeks. (I was blowing my nose about every five to ten minutes there for awhile.) I was kind of hoping that being in all that salt water was like swimming in a giant Neti Pot – flushing out my sinuses every day until I got better. But I did get better – so I could feel germ free for my last week in Croatia.
Now I’ve been home for a bit and I’ve started to build the voice back up. The lower mix is working again, and there’s smoothness and even-ness between all my registers. I’m going slow so I don’t over stress my cords. I’m not in any shows now due to being sick when I wanted to audition. And I’m not doing auditions here now, as most are for performances that take place next year, and hopefully I’ll be in Europe to stay by then! So right now it’s caroling season prep. We always have a number of long gigs, which require a good amount of vocal stamina. Plus, I always have some solo gigs in the mix with that as well. And once I feel ready, it’ll be time to work my arias back into the voice so they can be ready when I’m overseas and I have audition opportunities.
I have to say though, it feels really good to be making awesome sounds again. Really good.
“My life goes on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it’s music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?”