This quick essay rang a bell.
The first time I attended my father’s church, I was mortified, standing among my siblings, to realize we would be singing hymns without accompaniment: the sole piano player had defected to another church before my father’s arrival. With barely over a dozen members in the congregation, you couldn’t get away with mouthing the words. And trying to sing loudly enough to prove you have neither a heathen’s irreverence - though you are your very own, grown-up kind of heathen, singing out of respect for your parents’ belief - nor a tin ear while trying to keep your neighbors from hearing the cracks in your voice is akin be being strangled. Or slowly drowning. The necessary ratios of open throat to closed throat, of sound release to sound blockage, are tricky. Sure, it sounds pornographic, but anyone who has reluctantly joined in on the joys of communal singing knows it’s the truth. Your heart rate accelerates equally from oxygen deprivation as congregational stage fright. All this to say, trying to maintain privacy while singing in church is difficult enough without a conspicuously absent piano and twelve good country people singing acapella. [More]
To all for whom congregational singing is not something you look forward to.