My friend just celebrated her birthday. We had a party at her apartment around her pool. I brought my ukulele so we could all sing if the spirit moved us.
Well, the spirit moved us right away. I pulled out my uke and we started singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in harmony. We laughed, played, forgot words and started over. It was a party. It was fun.
We noticed that some of the apartment dwellers overlooking the pool closed their windows. Others came out onto their balconies to check us out. We ignored them all. We were having a good time and no one asked us to stop. So we just sang and sang and laughed and laughed.
A couple of days later, my friend was doing her laundry and ran into one of her neighbors. The neighbor stopped her and asked, “Were you out by the pool singing the other day?” My friend sheepishly said, “Yeah, that was us.” The neighbor went on, “I thought it was beautiful. I’ve heard you practicing in your apartment too. I love that. My mother just died. She was a singer too. We are looking for someone to sing at her memorial service and I wanted to see if you’d be interested.”
My friend will be singing at her neighbor’s mother’s memorial service in a few weeks for her regular fee. Her neighbor will have a wonderful memory of her mother and my friend will have a professional gig.
A soprano who completed her master’s degree in classical music found herself relocated from Japan to Los Angeles. Husband, child, cultural restrictions, modesty, or something else made her stop singing. Life had carried her away until she got breast cancer. The ordeal left her longing for her singing. One day she summoned up the courage and called me for a voice lesson.
She had to drive more than an hour to get to my studio but she did it every other week for several months. Singing made her feel alive again. The original talent was not gone nor was her voice. As she got in shape, she needed an outlet but was hesitant to sing in public again.
Then came her 50th birthday and the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan on the same weekend! These two events strengthened her resolve. She planned a recital at her church as a benefit for Lutheran World Relief–Japan.
Her recital repertoire expressed her sadness and deep love for Japan. As she was preparing for the recital she found that her husband had been transferred and the family was moving back to Japan.
At first she was worried that she’d have to leave her singing behind again. Luckily for us, SKYPE works between Tokyo and LA.
Her recital was last night. She sang like a pro, of course. More importantly, she will sing the recital again in Japan as her re-introduction to her community after twenty years away. She is back.