In response to the meme post below, Scrivener asks: "You sing for cash? What kind of singing? What kind of cash?"
I'm overdue for a post about the singing, related to the fact that I haven't been doing nearly as much singing this semester as I would like. So here's the deal, and maybe the writing will spur the other stuff.
I've been singing classical music - mostly choral music - since high school, where a draconian but talented Swiss music director kept our choir interested and motivated by the force of his personality ("Don't have a pencil?? Prick your finger and write in blood!" was one of his infamous rehearsal remarks). Even given the generally high level of cultural capital possessed by many of the families at my high school, it's impressive that he managed to get a hundred kids a year involved in singing masterworks of Western culture, and make them sound pretty good while he was at it.
Fast forward many years. I discovered that some big-city churches, especially but not exclusively rich Episcopal ones, pay their choirs, and finagled my way into one. I say "finagle" because, both at the time and in retrospect, it was/is clear that I was on the low end of the spectrum, shall we say, in terms of vocal maturity and confidence. In other words, many of the other singers in that group kicked my ass vocally and musically. This was made clear from repeated frustrated comments in my direction from the conductor (not put-downs, just requests to change things musically that at the time I knew were difficult or impossible for me to change).
What did we sing? Episcopal chant for the Psalm, and anthems for the Offertory and Communion parts of the service -- early-music chestnuts like Tallis and Byrd, or more recent Anglican stuff like Howells.
I had to leave that city for grad school. But if I were still singing there, I'd be making over well over half my graduate stipend. Like I said, these are rich-ass churches.
Now, I no longer have a church job, although I occasionally sub in for other singers I know when they have to take a Sunday off. I do sing with a part-paid, part-volunteer community choir, though I'm sometimes frustrated at the sheer size of the group (80-90 people). It's like getting an elephant to move: once it gets started, it lumbers along.
I don't have a huge, operatic voice; I'm at my best singing Baroque and earlier (Bach, Monteverdi), although I'd like to get into more recent (20th- and 21st-century) repertoire as well. And I enjoy it the most when I feel like I'm making chamber music, working in tandem either with other singers or with instrumentalists. While I've grown slightly more accustomed to claiming the spotlight for myself during solo work, it's the feeling of making music in tandem with other people - the cooperative or occasionally competitive back-and-forth - that lifts my spirits. I haven't done nearly enough singing with lately.