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Fight fire with fire

Written By: Jenn - Feb• 11•10

Something unsavory has been going on in our larger choral group that we sing with lately.

We are a great group of about 55 voices. Strangely enough, out of that nice number, only 5 are tenors (including John-Boy), and out of that 5, only 4 are men (um, also including J-B!). That leaves, of course, one female tenor. Lets call her RF. Imagine, if you will, being the only female tenor in a group of that size. It has taken RF years to become comfortable with herself in this role, and be “one of the guys”. And one of the guys she certainly is. The rest of us have never had a problem with it, and accept her as such with good natured ribbing, but you have to know that it’s always in the back of her mind that she sticks out a little from the rest of the section.

A few weeks ago, Knarf and I had dinner with J-B at his place (ShaMoo was unable to make it), and I asked them to sing “Unchained Melody” to me, which is a song the Basses and Tenors are doing for our concert on Feb 20th. Instead of singing it though, J-B floors us with the announcement that one of the Basses had made the decision to exclude RF on the basis that it was a “Men Only” piece.

RF has never, in the entire history of her involvement with this group as a tenor, been excluded from a piece simply because it’s a “Man’s” part. No one has ever even suggested it until now.

There’s a lot more to the story, but it’s involved, and frankly, you won’t care so I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I was mad. Steam-from-my-ears-mad, in fact, and ready to do battle at our next board meeting, which was the following week. This individual is on the board with me, unfortunately. He is the type who believes he “owns the joint” and has the right to make decisions like this. I beg to differ.

Anyway, I fired off a late-night email to RF when I got home that evening, and had a reply first thing the next morning, in which she asked that I not bring it up – although she was very grateful to know that she has people in her corner and that I was happy to go to bat for her – and that she’d rather let it go. J-B, wise as always, also held me back. Not an easy thing to do once I’ve got something in my head, let me tell you. But I bit my tongue and kept quiet.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I had a word with our president to let her know exactly what was going down – she wasn’t surprised – and I also had the same conversation with our artistic director. I was extremely happy that she was as shocked as we were about it, and had not been told.

The kicker though, was that Butthead intended to introduce a SECOND piece of music that ALSO excluded RF. He actually thought that it was “OK”, and that she’d understand. Believe it or not, there is no visible brain damage involved here. He’s just that stupid, and completely lacking in social skills.

At this point, J-B stepped in, and essentially put a stop to it with a quiet word, and an amazing amount of class. Totally not what I would have done, since I was ready to go to war, but absolutely the best way to do it, and for that I am extremely impressed by and proud of him. Also thankful that he saved the hothead me from making it an all-out battle when it didn’t need to be.

It’s not over, by any stretch. Damage has been done, and it will not be forgotten. In times like this, you learn who your friends are, and where people stand. RF knows she has people in her corner, and she’s going to be ok. One thing I’m certain of though; It will never happen again.


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  1. RF is lucky to have friends like you and JB to fight her corner, I would have been mad too! I’m glad to hear it had been sorted without too much stress now.

    I had a terrible singing moment last night. I was at Brownies and the other leader (Steph) and I had to go over the National Anthem for a ‘Thinking Day’ event coming up. Steph said to all the Brownies that Jade and I will sing it through first for you. I was swearing at her in my head – I’m not a good singer and I’ve got a fairly low voice, Steph started to sing fairly high and I had to sing with her, we sounded terrible together, I was trying to sing too high and when the song got higher my voice just couldn’t take it and kind of cracked – the Brownies laughed – it was bad.

    Then Steph insisted we sing it again so they could get the tune – not good, I could hardly sing for laughing at myself. You should have heard the awful noise when the Brownies tried to sing it back to us, I don’t think we represented the tune very well. Steph was fine but I was really awful. I have to learn to sing!
    .-= Jade @ No Longer 25´s last blog ..Comfortable Haiku =-.

    • Jenn says:

      John is anything but a hothead, and it’s nice to have someone around who can keep his cool, when I’m ready to fly off the handle… I usually say I’ve “got my Irish up”, but as he’s Irish too, that doesn’t compute. Whatever it is, I’m glad he was there to save the day, and so is his buddy RF.

      Singing soprano when you’re definitely an alto can be painful – I don’t like to do it either, Jade!! Revel in your chesty voice, and know that many sopranos wish they could be sexy/sultry like US ;)

      I can’t think of what your national anthem is? God Save the Queen springs to mind (definitely a higher register needed for that), but that might not be right. Flower of Scotland maybe? Scotland the Brave?? Help me out here…

      • Hehe it’s Flower of Scotland really, but you know things are never simple here so we were singing the God Save the Queen thing because it’s for a British event, for sport we always sing Flower of Scotland. The Britain, Scotland, UK thing is all a bit messed up!
        .-= Jade @ No Longer 25´s last blog ..Comfortable Haiku =-.

        • Jenn says:

          Well, that one rarely sounds great, so don’t feel bad ;) I much prefer Flower of Scotland (even if it IS almost 5 mins long!)

          We’re (Canada) in that mess a bit too, and have to sing God Save the Queen sometimes… it simply annoys me! I don’t have anything against the Queen per se, except that more and more her entire family is becoming a bit of a joke. Once she is gone from the throne, it’s going to degenerate. But that’s a whole ‘nother conversation, isn’t it!

  2. Thom says:

    Hey…first of all how come Things I talk about on your right side bar still has Silly Haiku Wednesday. Did ya change the name back? ROFLMAO!! just sayin… Okay I’m no singer at all. As a matter of fact I would probably be your beach boy water boy to get ya all what you wanted to drink and eat and such…mind you I don’t mind that role either. But it seems to me that if you are a tenor or a bass how can a song be classified as a “Men Only” song? If you are in that range I would think that you would be included. Now if you wanted to get an alto (only other term I really know, maybe soprano?) to sing the song I could understand her being excluded. Sounds like a bunch of hog wash if you ask me. I’m glad she has ya on her side :)
    .-= Thom´s last blog ..Guess Whose Back? =-.

    • Jenn says:

      Because I can’t “affect” it except by what I blog about, and it takes all the posts in the database to come up with the usage. So “silly” will probably be there for a while, and “sensational” will grow as we go, week by week.

      I’m not in need of a water boy, but a cabana boy would be rather nice… ;)

  3. JennyMac says:

    PLEASE sing Unchained Melody and put it on youtube. It is one of my favorites.

    And glad all is worked out now.
    .-= JennyMac´s last blog ..Swaddled in blankets and movie watching =-.

  4. Jenn says:

    I’ll see if I can get a copy of it JM – we always put out a CD for each concert, so chances are good I’ll get something for you :)

  5. Nessa says:

    I love your passion. I get like that when I see an injustice, too. I’m lucky people calm me down when needed, but I sure want to kick butt.

    A New Old Fairy Tale

  6. ShaMoo says:

    It’s total B.S., that’s for sure. I’m glad that the “higher ups” know the whole story now, but it still stinks.

  7. Melissa B. says:

    Love it…sounds just like a “Butthead.” And I second Jenny Mac’s suggestion. Unchained Melody: Priceless!
    .-= Melissa B.´s last blog ..Reflecting on a Job Well-Done =-.