So one of my callings at church is to be the ward chorister--that's the one where you stand up in front of the congregation three to four times every Sunday and wave your arms around like you know something about music. I don't mind this calling much. Usually the hymns are easy and the congregation sings along with the songs they've known all their lives. From my position up in front, I've noticed that most people never even bother to look at me. (Do they care that I'm cutting them off, or trying to speed up the song? Of course not.) So in other words this calling is relatively low-key and pretty breezy every Sunday.
Unfortunately this Sunday was not so breezy. (Those of you in my ward will nod and smirk enthusiastically. Yes, I know you're out there and you read this blog:)) Recently our chapel has undergone rennovations and our ward has started meeting in an office building on the other side of town. We've lost a lot of perks in the process, and that includes the grand organ one usually finds in a nice LDS chapel. Instead we have an electronic keyboard--you know, the kind that will do a drum beat while you play a sonata, etc. So today after meandering up to the front of the room and preparing for the hymn, you may imagine my surprise when instead of an organ, or even nice electronic piano sounds, the musical instrument sounded like chimes. And that wasn't even the worst of it--somehow the keyboard was managing to transpose the entire hymn into an entirely different key about five notes higher than the orginal score.
It was far too late to remedy the problem, but being the professional that I am (smirk), I worked at keeping my face solemn and intent on the hymn. (I do admit the pianist and I exchanged a few wise glances.) The notes climbed higher and higher and as I listened, I realized that I was probably the only person in the entire building who was singing the high notes--probably topping off at a high G (not even kidding). Half the congregation wasn't even singing--refusing to, I should say, and the rest of them were either singing very quiet or singing an octave lower. The story never gets better. We continued to sing hymns throughout the meeting (we even had to sing a blasted "rest hymn"), and even though a sister tried to discreetly fix the keyboard in between songs, the problem remained. The disastrous meeting culminated in the longest, slowest song (Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd, if you're curious), sung, of course, about five or six notes too high. I swear only the dogs could hear me when I was done. And I will admit to lip-synching some of the higher notes.
Of course right after the meeting, a Mia Maid skipped right up, flicked a button, and completely fixed the whole problem. Couldn't you have thought of that a little earlier sweetie? I would categorize this as one of my most embarrassing moments, but I refuse to give in to that. It wasn't my fault that the keyboard was screwy--right? Nobody would mock me for trying to sing the notes I was supposed to.....right? But still, I just got the feeling that most everyone was looking at me and thinking, "What an idiot." Maybe I'll just show them and transpose the notes down next week and turn on the police siren sounds.......