Support among amateur singers

Monday a week ago, I wrote about my faltering preparations for a group recital. Well, after less than a week of flurried final preparations for the recital, the performance came to pass last Saturday. I had a couple of glitches (hmm, maybe a couple more) during the song, but I was very happy with the outcome.

This was me, trying to stay calm and collected, adorned with sparkling paste, before I went on stage. (Please no comments about my tan lines, I’m embarrassed enough as it is.)

Recital August 2013

I learned more about myself in the past few days and hours leading up to the actual performance. I would list them down if I didn’t think it would bore you, but I can tell you that I was so glad that I was not satisfied with a so-so performance, that I did not give up, and that I continued to practice and improve what I could in the last few days. Based on what I saw and what I gathered from chatting with the other singers, I have no doubt that they, regardless of their skill and time spent studying singing, did the same.

I spent quite a lot of time back stage and in the dressing rooms observing and listening to the other performers. The dressing rooms were not just places to change clothes but where we  vocalized, warmed up, and did last-minute practice without being heard in the concert hall. Imagine a room full of vocalizing singers, and you end up with a cacophony of voices. But no matter how discordant we may have sounded back stage, we were all united in one goal – and that is to sing to the best of our abilities.

But, we arrive at our best singing selves in different ways. Some, like me, need a lot of time to vocalize. Others need a last practice with their accompanist. Some spent time meditating, while others were chatting and playing catch up with each other. We also had different learning periods. It may take some several months to learn a 6-minute aria, while others may only need a few weeks. Some may have had only an hour each day practice time, while others may have had lesser or more time. That does not make one’s preparations better or worse than others’. We all arrived at the same concert hall, on the same day, for the same recital; and we all acknowledged everyone’s efforts to get there and to actually be there.

Interestingly, some people imagine that singers try to scratch each other’s eyes out in the effort to be the best singer of the lot. I’m sure each of us wants to be the best singer of any group, but, no, we don’t stab each other in the back. We all know that it won’t help our growth as singers and certainly not our own performance. If we try to out sing others, then we end up ruining our own voices. Conversely, we know that imposing our singing and vocalizing ideas on others may end up ruining their voices. But we freely offer our support, practical tips and encouraging words (both before and after the performance). Often, a whisper of “good luck” before going on stage, and applause and a pat on the back after our song, are all the support we need from each other.

I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. Isn’t it so much like dealing with Type 2 D (or diabetes in general for that matter)? The main goal is to keep our blood glucose level as close to a normal person’s as possible, and stave off complications the best we could. But there is no single right way of achieving that goal. Some do it with diet alone. Others with diet and exercise. Still some may need help with some medication, while some may need to insulin. Or, it may be through a combination of some form or other of these treatment methods. Just as performers hope for a good performance on stage, we as diabetics hope to arrive at an acceptable blood glucose level, no matter what path and how long we take to get there.

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