Happy Holidays! I hope the
Roast beef, yogurt, bananas… and arias?
Between editing and picking up my son this afternoon, I made a quick stop at the grocery store, where I picked up some cold cuts, some yogurt, a few tomatoes… and an impromptu singing lesson.
I was subsequently serenaded in three languages. In the parking lot. While I put my groceries into the back of the minivan.
You see, for some reason, while I was paying for my groceries, the man bagging them (his name is Jud) asked if I was a singer. (Why, I have no idea — my speaking voice is less than mellifluous, to my ears, anyway.) When I told him I only sang in the car, and that my children usually asked me to stop before I hit the third note, he launched into a mini-workshop on how to sing (I vaguely remember something about using the diaphragm to push the lungs up, relaxing the throat, letting the mouth open, and not singing from the throat, but there was much, much more, and I’ve lost it already)…
Jud didn’t ask me if I needed to be accompanied on the way to my car, he just provided it — both corporeally and musically. As we walked across the parking lot, he told me all about the difference between singing in Czech and Italian (Italian is, evidently, all about the vowels, making it easy to sing beautifully, whereas Czech, like German and English, involves clenching the jaw).
When we got to the minivan, I started loading the bags while the demonstrations began. Jud didn’t hold back at all; as we stood there in the parking lot, unloading groceries, he took a deep breath and belted out a few arias, trying to show me the difference between the sounds. I’m sure we got some odd looks, but I didn’t care a whit. I was happy to be an audience, even if only for a few minutes; it was wonderful to hear someone so excited about something. And so anxious to share it.
As I got the last bag into the van and closed the hatch, Jud concluded his al fresco performance with a lovely little Italian aria. He then informed me that Luisa Tetrazzini had written a singing instruction book with Caruso, and that it was available on the third floor of the main library branch downtown. And that I should get it immediately before someone else snapped it up.
I thanked him, of course, and then we went our separate ways — both smiling.
Truth be told, even though I have no plans to further my musical training at this time (or, quite frankly, ever), it was just a delightful experience, and I look forward to my next grocery run.
Because who knows? I might just get to hear some Chinese!