Sunday, January 30, 2011

969. Pluck

Serves me right (in an entirely good way) to have asked about more opportunities to chant. Yesterday I read haftarah, and have lots o'aliyot coming up next week and the week after. Yikes (in a good way). I've also discovered I have no idea how long it takes me to learn a section. I'm faster than I think, mostly. But I always dwell on the exceptions, and so say no when it comes to adding an aliyah or two. I need to be a little more brave.

As I walked over to the bima, the rabbi leaned over and said, sotto voce, "Go for it!" Exactly what I needed to hear. (I wonder if he noticed my big, nervous intake of breath a minute earlier before chanting the blessing.) So I threw caution to the winds, and tried to sing with everything I had. Not that I hold back, especially during the High Holy Days, but am at times more decorous than others. The rabbi's words in mind, I let more of myself through than nerves had allowed me in awhile. It was fun. Much easier to do this for haftarah, when I can clutch my own piece of paper, complete with notes and vowels, rather than when maneuvering the sea of letters that float above the dizzying cliff of memory required to read Torah--but perhaps some of my pluck will last until next Shabbat.

(I learned to chant exactly nine years ago! Why am I still nervous? But I am. And I think it's a good thing; those nerves make me look beyond the obvious, with respect to myself as well to the act of singing and reading. The answers, like Torah, change over time and are sometimes inscrutable.)

5 comments:

George said...

How much time did you have to prepare the haftarah? The shortest notice I have had was 15 minutes!

alto artist said...

I had a number of days... my synagogue is huge, so they're very organized--everything is planned well in advance. 15 minutes, I'm impressed! Occasionally I've seen our rabbis and cantor, as well as a handful of incredibly knowledgable members, do haftarah and even Torah readings on the fly when something fell through at the last minute. I am in awe of anyone who can do that! I think that one of our rabbis in particular has the entire Torah memorized, not kidding.

--aa.

p.e.: Good to see you here again!

George said...

Update - yesterday I got 30 seconds notice :-)

alto artist said...

I am extremely impressed!!

--aa.

LauraX said...

Happy New Year! May your life always be filled with blessings! The quilt is posted...thank you so much for being a part of it!