I caused quite a commotion at Mass this morning. Last week only the parishioners immediately around me were able to pick out my voice. But then, the church was crowded and many people were singing. Today was a different matter. During the communion hymn I was interrupted twice. The first lady stopped me to ask which hymn we were singing. As soon as I started singing again, the woman in front of me turned around, grabbed my hand, and said, "Bless you!" It was only after that that I was able to continue singing uninterrupted. Alas, though, that was the only hymn I knew, so know more singing at church today … or so I thought.
When the service was done, I thanked the 3 or 4 people who stopped me to compliment my voice, and then I started to leave. I only made it halfway down the aisle before I was accosted by the lead chorister, who apparently had dashed from the other side of the congregation to prevent me from slipping away. She echoed everyone else who has said to me since Holy Week, "You should join the choir." I asked her when they rehearsed. "After Mass," and they were rehearsing right then. I told her I was unwilling to commit to anything, but that I could stay and rehearse with them. After all, I had nothing pressing to do except maybe eat breakfast, and as long as I did that at some point in the next several days I would be alright.
The choir members were all thrilled to see me join their ranks. "Ooh, a man who can sing!" Dorothy, my recruiter, found me a hymnal with actual music in it and we rehearsed a few songs. One of the girls actually swooned and started exclaiming, "What a voice! We need that voice!" And as the rehearsal wore on, Dorothy had me teaching songs to the other choir members (because I can read music and none of them can) and improvising harmonies to certain songs; then she'd pull out new music she wanted to sing with me and has threatened to bring more music that she feels would be perfect for my voice next week. I didn't get home from the 11:30 Mass till about 3 o'clock!
(I walked home with Rose, who has been in the U.K for 8 years, a refugee from Rwanda. The congregation is largely African. Dorothy is from Zambia, and I know several there are from Uganda. I asked Rose a little about Rwanda, and the pain was evident in her face as she remembered the atrocities, though she spoke very little of them and only in generalizations. I didn't press on.)
On an unrelated note, none of my hats fit anymore, as my head seems to have doubled in size since this morning.