Dolce voce

I grew up in a small town, and the self-declared Singer of Note was a woman named Kitty Bradley. She and I attended the same church, and 2 or 3 Sundays a year I sat through her elaborately nuanced, operatically overblown performances of sacred music.

By the time I was 10, I sang in 2 choirs and I knew I would never have voice lessons. I knew that voice lessons made you vibrate like Ethel Merman. I knew that once you had had voice lessons, you would always sing with baroque flourishes so heavy that the song would nearly collapse under their weight. I didn't want to sing like Mrs. Bradley.

When I was 19 and home on spring break, I happened to hear her in church and realized her performance was rubbish. I guess that as a young woman she learned just enough to be dangerous, and since then she had "developed" in isolation, winding up with an eccentric and unpleasant style.

I signed up for voice lessons the next term.

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