First choir: VOE
My story is the opposite. We were a non-musical family, not at all. I didn’t go to church. I tried out for the chorus when I was like in fifth grade and I got rejected. We hadn’t had one before that so I completely… If I had had any idea of being a singer, that was the end of that. And so I never did anything, and my family didn’t do anything musical really until I retired, and I saw an article by the Senior Center’s chorus director inviting people to join this chorus, and she said it was okay to join even if you couldn’t read music and didn’t know how to sing, and so that’s been really helpful for me. And I’m still learning, listening.
[But, nice, that’s a great story. So, even though music wasn’t, you know, as important in your life, it became so later. That’s a nice story. So when you saw that announcement, what made you think that you wanted to sing in a choir? Were you curious about it?]
I guess, I mean everyone thinks they want to sing sort of, but I never. Her article, whatever it said, was just, it sounded nice enough like they would take people like me who had never sung, which I had never considered before.
[It was inclusive.]
It was inclusive, and I actually wrote to the director and, you know, told her my history and said, “Would you take someone like me?” and she wrote back and said, “Well, let’s talk.” So I quit. Talking means she’s going to reject me, but then finally she got ahold of me again and said, “What happened?” And I told her and she said. “No, no. I just want to talk,” because she actually did a paper on me. She said, “I want to talk to you before you join.” And she did a paper on what it’s like for an old person who had never sung to learn singing, and said I could still join.
And she also had–she always had student helpers–she always had a student sitting next to me for at least one semester, maybe two.
 See, that was like twenty-three years ago when I moved to Iowa City and I wanted to join Voices of Experience. And the first time I came, and the leader said, “Somebody is singing an octave lower and we can’t do that.” And he put me next to the best tenor in the chorus and I learned to sing tenor.
[And now she sings solos.]
The leader back then was just a special person.