Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Over the weekend, my buddy John had his bachelor party. I arrived halfway through, because I was home with the kids while the guys went go-karting. But when I arrived, we began to drink. We drank at John's brother's house, and then headed downtown to some bar called the Whiskey. While there, we met up with some bachelorette parties doing a similar thing and we drank some more. On our way to the strip club, John fell down, and picked a fight with some passing pitbulls. So we never made it to the peelers and we took him home. His girlfriend seemed rather shocked to see us all at midnight, but not as shocked as mine was to see me at 12:30. In the end, that was better though, because the next morning I had to sing. You see, John is a friend of mine from high school days who was in many of the same activities I was - waterpolo, school stuff - and choir. We were in the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir when we were thirteen and fourteen and fifteen. Until I was kicked out for bad behaviour. And bad singing.

But John wanted all of his choir friends to get together to do some singing at his wedding, coming up this weekend. And I agreed to be a part of what I figured would be a makeshift, half-assed choir to belt out Ave Maria (John's choice) at the wedding. I thought this would be rather fun, getting a bunch of people together who haven't sung in fifteen years. We could destroy a piece of music or two, and provide some much-needed levity to what I'm certain will be a very long, very Anglican wedding. (Judging by his brother Mark's wedding last year - same church, same costumes, pretty much the same crowd.) But when I showed up to that church on Sunday morning to participate in my first choir rehearsal in at least 15 years, I realized this was not the case. These people were not former choir boys and girls like myself. They were all current choir boys and girls. These people had never stopped. Now, as 29-and-30-year-olds, and some older, they were in choirS. S. My old friend Martha, who I haven't seen in years, told me she's singing in four choirs.

Which meant two things - first, I was the only member of this choir who had been at John's bachelor party the previous night. Which meant I was the only person in the room singing hungover. And secondly, I was the only one in the room who doesn't sing every day. Sometimes three or four times a day. And as such I was BY FAR the weakest link. I was the one who held everyone back. The choir director (yes, John even found a choir director) would say something like "I think we're all familiar with the chanting style", or "who here hasn't performed the Saint-Saens", or "does anyone need to go over the Messiah". And each time I would be the lonely one in the back slowly raising my hand. Ummm...not me. I sat beside another guy who sings "second bass" - that's me. I joined choir in the eighth grade so I could get to second base, and I'm finally there. This guy, whose name I forget, helped me out as best he could, but then he would put his finger in the ear nearest to me so that he wouldn't have to hear my singing, which would obviously throw him off his game.

I'm looking forward to John's ultra-formal, choir-filled wedding on Saturday. I get to wear a robe, because I'm part of the choir, so I don't even need to bring a suit! So that's nice. And I will be standing there, with the rest of the choir, people who managed to learn the twelve songs we'll be singing during the one hour rehearsal we had a week ago. And I will either be the one who is noticeably not singing the right notes, or the one who is holding back the entire ensemble, or the one who breaks into Every Rose Has It's Thorn during the reading of the vows, or the one who mouths the words to every song. I haven't decided which one of these things I will do, I guess it all depends on how early I get to St. Matthews church on Saturday, and by extension how much time I spend at the Royal Oak before the wedding starts.

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