Monday, April 21, 2008

Serendipity... connections

I have always loved what I call "the small world phenomenon" - finding the connections between people. My friends and family know how much I love to talk to people, and I can almost always find something in common - like a hobby, mutual friends, or finding that my brother-in-law grew up next door to their cousin... stuff like that. I talk to hundreds of people each week at the bead store, so I find LOTS of connections. A few months ago, two customers connected in our store - one was looking for a new pet, hopefully an adult greyhound, the other... rescues greyhounds! That kind of stuff gives me the chills, it's so cool!

In high school, I used to sing in the choir, and I majored in music. I took music composition, theory, and humanities. I sang in the choir at Dixboro United Methodist Church, too, from the time I was a "Cherub Choir" member (I think I was kindergarten?) After high school, I didn't actively persue singing, but always wished that I had. My dream gig would have been singing back up "doo-wop" vocals for some big star... like Elvis, maybe. I never aspired to a solo career, just wanted to sing all the great harmonizing that altos usually get to do. I never persued singing after high school... life was just too full, I guess...

About two months ago, on a Sunday morning, I was ready to teach a bead class. It was going to be small - just two students. One of them called and said she was going to be a few minutes late. To fill up the time, I asked the other student, Cathy Brodie, what she "did for a living" other than play with beads! She told me that she is an adjunct professor of music at Eastern Michigan University. I asked a bunch of questions, of course.

I made a comment to her that was soon going to make a big impact on my life. I said "I used to sing. My kids don't believe that I could ever because I'm so far out of shape." Cathy then told me that she sings in a women's group that meets locally. It turns out that it meets at my daughter Stephanie's high school (Lincoln Consolidated), and is directed by the choir director, Karen Nevins. The group is called The Carillon Women's Chorale.

So, the high school is just connection #1. I've met Karen before; Stephanie was in choir for a while. Karen is very good friends with Susan Matych-Hager, who is a bead artist. We have her beads in our shop on commission and she does trunk shows for us (next one is May 31st.) Connection #2 (theirs) and #3 (each of them individually to me.)

I considered attending a rehearsal, but let a week slide by... The following weekend, the shop had a booth at the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild's Bead Bonanza. Susan had her beads in the booth next to ours, as planned. Connection #4. Her good friend Karen Nevins was helping her all day, and we were all so busy that there was not time to talk until the last 15 minutes of the show.

Karen said to me: "Cathy Brodie told me you were interested in singing with Carillon." Full of self-doubt, I explained how "I used to sing, but..." We talked for a bit about my musical background, and when she issued the invitation to come and try it... I couldn't refuse. I told her that I would attend rehearsals, but if I really no longer "had it in me" and was a detriment to the group, she had to promise to kick me out! And I meant it!

Well, it's been seven weeks of Monday night rehearsals. We're preparing for two concerts, and I am LOVING the music. I was pleased to realize that I can still read music, and I can still stay on pitch. My voice quality is still a bit rusty, but I'm working on that, too. This week, I reminded her of the promise, and her reply was "You're IN!"

I've rediscovered singing, something that I've always loved to do. While I will probably never consider myself a "vocal artist," being part of a group that makes such beautiful music is certainly feeding my creative soul. Combined with my joy in making beautiful bead jewelry, and in teaching classes to help others make it, too... Wow... LIFE IS GOOD!