Monday, March 03, 2008

No Comment

The previous post has been deleted, never to return.

Just too much ugliness going on there, for no reason that I can see. I want to thank those of you who offered comments in my defense and the others of you who emailed me directly to express your support.

I felt I had to respond to the initial comment that set off the storm because it attacked my credibility, baldly laying out a claim that my blog is some kind of hoax, but in hindsight it was wasted effort and energy.

Going forward, I will have a new policy regarding comments. As always, differing opinions will be welcomed, but I will take advantage of my right to delete any comment that is off-topic or a personal attack.

I have decided to disable comments for this post; if you want to communicate with me about it, you can email me directly.

* * * * * * *

Last week's nastiness came at a bad time.

As regular readers know, I resolved at the start of the year to learn a new piece and sing it for my church, and was scheduled for this coming Sunday, March 9th.

I felt ready and excited. I had chosen the aria "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" from Bach's St. Matthew Passion, which is ideally suited to me. It was memorized and I was just continuing to polish and perfect it, while my voice continued to re-align and strengthen and open up back to its old self.

It's been five years since I last sang in public; at 33, I am just hitting what should be my vocal prime as a baritone, and the new physical maturity I heard in the sound was encouraging; the top notes, especially, had a new luster and ease. I could not wait to get out there; this was going to be fun.

And then suddenly, about two weeks ago, it all started to fall apart. Once again, it seemed my voice couldn't quite warm up all the way, and it would tire quickly. Though my throat was open, my jaw relaxed and my breathing solid, the warm, round sound began to fade, becoming fuzzy, reedy or thin-sounding in various parts of my range. Intonation began to go off-kilter. There was no longer a smooth transition in the passaggio; instead, it was like driving a car with a bad transmission. At first I thought, "Oh, it's just one of those days," but it began to be persistent and I had to admit to myself that this is exactly what happened to my voice in 2002.

This was infuriating, because for the last several years, I have had no problems with acid reflux at all. I felt ready to try again, and I would never have asked if I could sing if I hadn't been 100% confident that I was okay. I immediately made some radical changes in my diet and started going through some of the routines that had been helpful the first time around, but after a few days I began to sense that I probably could not fully recover in time. It wasn't going to be enough to just "get through" the piece; I needed to triumph, I needed to nail it, or it wasn't going to be worth it.

So on Saturday I told the music director that I was having problems again and that I would temporarily need to withdraw my offer to sing.

I am going to kick this. I want to say a special word of thanks to two friends who have given me invaluable advice this week. I wasn't going to say anything, because it is too painful and, frankly, humiliating, but both of them are encouraging me in a new direction, toward being more in touch with my feelings and what's going on inside me and more willing to reach out and be honest and ask for help with things.

So, that's all, for now. I could just use your friendship and support, and if you're the praying sort, I would appreciate a word or two on my behalf.