Grumpy Mornings


I believe in morning singing.

Every year I was in College Choir, we’d have a morning Christmas concert for donors and trustees. It usually started at 10:00, which meant we were expected to drag ourselves out of bed around 6:30 because it takes three hours to wake up the voice (according to our conductor). I’m not a morning person now, but throw in late-night conversations over tea (wait! I mean late-night studying!) and I’m even worse.

I think I woke up at 6:30 ONCE for a concert.

After that, I relied on strong coffee and elaborate warm-ups sung to the wall of Phillips Recital Hall.

The thing is, my professor was right. My voice never woke up in time. Those were certainly not our best performances in the early mornings of December.

But I believe in morning singing.


[I’m the blurry one right in the middle. Good memories of being one of a thousand daughters in “Pirates of Penzance”.]

I thought about this as I drove to work. I thought about it as I listened and hummed to a silly song on the radio (I won’t tell you what it was, but if you’ve ridden with me in the past few months, you can probably take a good guess). I thought how terrible I sounded as I sang and how I had to sing it up the octave and lightly because, well, my voice was still asleep.

I also thought there might not be a better way for me to start my day.

I am grumpy in the morning. Ask my parents. They are chronically happy when they wake up, and they don’t understand why I’m flying about, angry about this or that, the world collapsing around me as I’m not-late-but-almost-late for work.

My Dad sings almost every morning.

No, not hymns. At least not usually.

He tends more towards classic rock or whatever’s struck his fancy on the radio lately. And I’m trying to get ready for work, my voice is sleeping, ┬áthe rest of my body wishes it were, and I’m trying to hold it together while he sings.

I wish that I greeted each day with singing.

I wish that my voice woke up as soon as my eyes opened. I think maybe then I’d have better starts to my days.

It’s easy to sing when the sun is shining and the air is warm. It’s harder to sing when it’s dark in the mornings and dark in the evenings and rainy in between.

I miss the days of singing with friends. Of creating music because it was our job and our delight. Yes, I still do occasionally. But it isn’t quite the same.

Sometimes I sing in my car on the way to work. Sometimes I don’t. I think my students can tell which kind of day it is as soon as I walk in the door.


[This is from our second-to-last class recital ever. Goofy is always better.]