Tag Archives: Singing

Missing Mother

11 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We attend an old-fashioned country church. You know the kind, where the preacher gets excited and everyone stands to sing the Doxology. When our daughter visited she said there was so much standing and sitting, she felt like she was in a Catholic service.

I wonder what the pastor and the people in the choir think when they see my face and body language during congregational singing. Do they wonder why my stance appears poised to chase some invisible being and why my face has an attentive listening expression?

I would gladly chase the invisible being if she was indeed there. Yet, while death can take away her physical body, it can not take away the memories of my mother’s voice. She sang with the prettiest alto voice I have ever heard and she was not a timid singer, whispering the words to the hymns. She belted them out joyfully.

 When the older hymns are sung, it’s like amidst the voices of those around me,  I can hear her voice.  I tilt my head and close my eyes, trying to capture it. That is when my singing gets really funky. Have you ever tried to sing with someone who isn’t there?

I always wanted an alto voice like my mother, but was born with a low soprano. I may have been able to develop an alto voice but our family of five, needed a soprano. I think my voice became confused because when our family would sing together, my patient dad would frequently shake his head over my lack of ability to stay on key. I can carry a tune, I just carry it in many ways!

I don’t think mother approves of using the over head screens to display the song lyrics without the notes because lately, when we sing hymns  like Standing on the Promises, her voice fills in the alto part in the chorus while the sopranos hold the note.  I decided to do it too, but I do it softly…..standing on the promises, standing on the promises. I felt awkward the first few times so I decided to stop singing and listen. Sure enough, there was a faint echo of other folks singing it the old-fashioned way.

Standing on the Promises

Photo from Church Hymnal 1979

Maybe one day I will be brave enough to ask the pastor if he notices my odd expressions during the singing.  Or maybe I won’t. I will keep sitting in the back of the church and hope he can’t see that far!

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