well, that is…unexpected…

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Photo Credit: Sergio Pellegrino.

In the past week, I have found out something new and surprising about myself.

But first, some background.

Like oh so many people, I have loved music for as long as I can remember. I mean, Carol means “music or joyful sound,” so it’s not like I had much choice in the matter. But still, music is something that has always been a very strong part of my makeup. I wake up every morning with a song running through my head.

I’ve taken various music classes before. I’ve tried to learn clarinet and violin (did better on the latter than the former, but my neck is too jacked up to take it up again), gave the keyboard the ol’ college try (and I still occasionally play with that keyboard – I should probably get it back to CuteNerdBoy and get my own, dammit). I participated in chorus classes in school, recently gave the JPL Chorus a whirl (and probably will again), and last year I was involved with the world premiere of Alice Through the Wormhole at Caltech, in which I played three roles. I was so excited to actually be in a musical, even if I didn’t have any solos.

Frankly, I’m happy to not have had any real solos. My voice can be very erratic. One day it will sound perfectly nice to my ears and the next day I’ll be caterwauling off-key with no idea on how to get back on-key. It’s very frustrating. So much so that I’m finally taking honest-to-goodness singing lessons.

I’m taking two during the week: a one-on-one class through the Altadena Academy of Music and a singer’s workshop led by my talented and lovely friend Brenda Varda, who wrote Alice Through the Wormhole. I’m definitely noticing a real improvement in my voice, which makes me so happy. Both of my instructors have commented on how well I’m coming along. Brenda – who I’ve known since September 2014 – has mentioned how even my speaking voice seems to have much more vocal range than it did lo, those many months ago. I just have to work on the whole “singing with confidence in front of people” thing, which always throws me off.

In my almost 50 years on this planet, I’ve always heard my voice as alto. And because my speaking voice seems to be a wee bit low, no one has ever contradicted me. Until last week.

Elisabeth (my instructor at the Altadena Academy of Music) said that there is no way that I’m an alto. With the work we’ve done over the last month, my vocal range has broadened.

I’m a mezzo soprano.

Me. The person who always heard her own voice as not much higher than Kathleen Turner’s, has been pegged as a mezzo soprano. When I told Brenda on Sunday, she was not surprised. Maybe that’s why she kept trying to get me to stop singing so low during “Alice.”

It may not be much to most people, but I gotta say, it blows my mind.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to completely reorder my life to fit in this new piece of information…


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