A few days later I got a call from the cantor, who agreed that things went well. (Whereupon I heaved a sigh of relief big enough to power a sailboat.) He also noted that I sang flat, and really shouldn't do that anymore. Hearing this from anyone else would have been mortifying, but he was so tactful and kind that I was grateful for the honesty. If he hadn't said anything, in fact, I would have wondered if he was listening at all.
He offered me a CD of the service so I could hear myself--in preparation for the next time I would lead. I had no idea I would be able to do it again, and was greatly relieved to have another chance to get it right.
I sounded, on the CD, like I was being strangled as I sang, and that every muscle in my body and throat had tried to curl up in a little ball and hide. But it still wasn't as bad as I imagined, and I was encouraged to learn that I could trust my own ears. There would have been a much bigger problem if I thought I sounded like Maria Callas and then discovered otherwise.
Later that week our small bunch of lay service leaders had the last of three study sessions with the rabbis. The pop singer, I noticed, didn't attend. We studied a text from the Talmud which said that God prays, too--to us, asking us to remind Him of His mercy if He happened to forget. I sat there hoping I wouldn't need to do this, and that my next time leading, in two weeks, would go well.
Moving, briefly, to the present: I had another rehearsal last night, which was great. But apparently the schedule is still in flux, and things were a little chaotic--in a good-natured way, because everyone really does love everyone else--as the instrumentalists tried to figure out when to rehearse with singers with whom they weren't even sure they'd be performing. As long as someone tells me whether to show up at the synagogue, church, or theater, I'll be just fine.