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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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Sing and celebrate

Uploaded: Dec 5, 2016
I recently joined the choir at our church. I have wanted to join for many years but teaching Sunday school took priority when our kids were little and weeknight rehearsals were challenging with a spouse who travels. Rehearsing before Sunday services made getting the rest of the family to church difficult as even attending a 10 am service on the weekend is pushing it for teens. But now that the older of our two teens is driving, and our youngest daughter can get herself around by bike, I am taking advantage of their independence and singing with the choir.

Even though there is no audition required to join our church choir, most of the choir members are far more accomplished and experienced than I am, which is intimidating but energizing. I’m taking voice lessons and am happy to be making slow but incremental progress, which is giving me confidence and lessening the anxiety, self-consciousness, and feelings of unworthiness that come with performing with a group of talented artists! I am way out of my comfort zone, but everyone has been very encouraging and the emotional lift of singing is so worth it. Singing with others, particularly in harmony, gives people an oxytocin boost, and I can attest that even a mediocre singer can enjoy the mood lift from this hormone!

My growing confidence was also the impetus for attending my first Messiah sing along this weekend. My voice teacher performed the alto solos and listening to her is awe-inspiring. I had no idea how long the Messiah actually is, and we sang only a portion of it over the hour and a half. I limped through most of the choruses, but slogging through the piece made singing the last more familiar Hallelujah chorus all the more exhilarating. It felt like we’d climbed a mountain and then relished the view from high above.

Fortunately the upcoming holidays provide ample opportunities to celebrate with song!
What is it worth to you?


Posted by PR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm

Lovely and inspiring! Thank you, Sally!

Posted by Another singer, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Dec 6, 2016 at 7:37 pm

If you're feeling ambitious, and your schedule permits, you can stretch your wings a little farther by singing the *entire* Messiah (solos and all, if you wish) in a few weeks! They even have a small orchestra as accompaniment. Details below:

Get Your Hallelujah On!
50th Anniversary Messiah Sing: Complete Work
Monday, December 19, 2016 7:00 pm
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

Schola Cantorum's Messiah Sing was the ?rst, and is still the most beloved, in the Bay Area. Maestro Gregory Wait directs a choir of you and your peers, along with Sinfonia Schola Cantorum. You'll ?nally have the opportunity to sing the piece in its entirety!
You can bring your own score, or borrow one of ours.

Tickets: Advance: $31 adults; $23 students and groups of 10 or more
Day of Performance: $41 (all ticket prices include a $3 Facility Use Fee)
For phone orders, please call the MVCPA Box Office at:

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, PR, for reading and commenting!

Thanks Another singer for the information on the opportunity to sing it all with a wonderful choir and conductor, and even an orchestra. I will make sure to get a good night's sleep beforehand as such an undertaking will require serious stamina. The singing equivalent of a marathon!

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Dec 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Sometimes the Messiah sing-alongs let the audience sing the solos, too. Once you have your own score, find a CD for in-home fun!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, LJ, I've got my work cut out for me!

Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Esther Clark Park,
on Dec 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

We love having you in our choir, Sally. We've been waiting for you to have a little time out to sing.
Pleased your children are growing up so you can join us. You have a beautiful voice.
Sing, sing, sing and discover it's like having a cheap psychiatrist. It clears "the head."

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 8, 2016 at 10:23 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for reading and commenting! You are too kind. You are spot on, singing is such a mood enhancer. I'm reading Stacy Horn's memoir "Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others". She shares how choral singing has enhanced her life and I can so relate!

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