Sunday, January 20, 2008


I'll never forget my cousin Lauri telling about a time that she, her parents, and siblings sang in Church. Apparently they hadn't practiced all that much and the parts were a bit complicated, and it was a struggling performance. In fact, in the middle of the sloppy note-finding nightmare, one of them muttered "This is Brutal!" As she recounts, after the meeting few people made eye contact with her, and the ones who did had looks of sympathy on their faces!

I had a "brutal" moment today in Sacrament Meeting myself! Let's face it: I love to sing, but I know I'm not a great soloist. I prefer to melt into a nice alto part, finding harmony. So I was fine when the music director asked me to sing a duet. Give me an alto part and I'll be okay. Only problem: the other person she asked me to sing with is also an alto with an even lower voice than my own. Yikes! We compromised on a song where there were two solos and then a duet at the end.

As I sang my too-high-for-me melody solo, I looked at our ward choir director in the audience--also a vocal coach--and wanted to hide. Only you can't hide when you're singing a solo. I ran out of breath before the end of the phrase and everyone could hear it. I sang the wrong word on one part, and I couldn't even really hit the C nicely. I felt naked. It was brutal. After the meeting I tried to leave as soon as I could to avoid the "pity" compliments.

Thankfully, there is one fact I know to be a Universal Truth: people don't think about you as much as you think about yourself. In other words, I am not the center of the world. While I may analyze every note and breath, most everyone else has already forgotten all about it. So I didn't sing so well. So what? I can still sing my alto part and enjoy how music makes me feel.

But please don't be asking me to sing another solo any time soon!


  1. Oh Sally, bless your heart!
    I can just hear Lauri telling that story. Maybe I'll have to get her to tell me just for kicks one of these days. :)
    I'm so sorry that happened, but you're right. Nobody thinks about us as much as we think about ourselves. AND no one is as critical about us as we are to ourselves.
    No one will even remember tomorrow... or even by lunchtime. They've all forgotten. I'm proud of you for getting up there and giving it a go.
    I could NEVER do it!! :)

  2. We are too darn hard on ourselves! Sally, "you're good enough, you're smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like you"!-Stuart Smalley of SNL. I've always admired your musical abilities. And we all have days where things just don't go right. Everyone can relate. From a non-musically gifted person, we just appreciate the fact that those of you that can carry a tune get up there! It so refreshing to get to hear music in between talks even if a few mistakes are made. It reminds us that we're all human : ) Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Sal-
    One of the things I love about you (and there are FAR too many things to list)is you are so real. I love this post because you recognized that you didn't do so well, you wrote a funny post about it, and you gave us all the bottom line...get over ourselves. Nobody else will give it a second thought I don't think you should either.
    Love you!

  4. Matt actually told that story last night to some of our friends. HOw funny. You are brave! I could never sing in front of people.

  5. Anonymous6:01 PM

    HI Sally I'm trying to show my mom how to do this/

  6. Is it awful that I am totally laughing now? You DO have a beautiful voice. It was just one of those moments. We've ALL been there. And we love you for sharing your story!! The next time something like this happens to me I'll think of you and remember that I need to get over myself and move on. :)

  7. I've heard that story a few times. And it makes me smile everytime! I bet it wasn't as bad as Lauri says it was. But I think you all are awesome!

  8. you know, I bet it wasn't half as bad as you think...It never is. It is sad that I am completely laughing. Not AT you but with you, since we ALL have been there in one form or another. It usually is when we are trying our hardest and it feels so important. That is the irony of it.

    I am going to have to check out your blog make me smile

  9. OK Sal, I need to write a post for your blog here for all these people who actually think it might have been bad now. I WAS THERE AND... I REALLY LOVED IT, SINCERELY. I know how it feels to feel like you did horribly and then have people tell you that it was wonderful just seems to make it worse, but seriously I am Not just saying this for your self esteem. I missed the mess up part I guess. I was really wanting to cry listening to your voice. It was just so pure and so sweet. Even though your partner did not really match you and had some struggles, the song was so pleasant and uplifting. I felt like you were so humble singing this song with someone you were paired up with, even if it was not that comfortable. I was just so proud of you, really. The best part was when I walked in and you smiled at me. I felt like you were just singing that song for me. Anyway, I really felt the spirit from your voice today. Love you

  10. Sally! It's Jill!

    This is hilarious! Yet, I KNOW that you sing wonderfully! Although, I can empathize with the situation. Hehehe. Just think, next time, if anyone remembers, they'll say "Oh, she has improved so much." :)

    I got your blog off of Spencer's blog. It's great to see that things are going so well!

    Love you!

  11. This makes me nervous... we're singing in sacrament in a few weeks with another couple. For the first time in my life, I think I have stage freight.

  12. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I am so sorry to hear you had a terrible experience.
    I hope it does not stop you from singing.
    I hope things go well tomorrow.
    Please let us know.
    Love, Mom

  13. Oh Man. I've done that a time or two. Thanks for sharing. It helps me remember that we are all human. We can make mistakes, and then get on with our lives. I'm sure I've heard horrible performances at church, but I honestly can't remember one in particular. Good luck with the next time, whenever that may be.

  14. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Sally, It has been YEARS. I just finally looked at Spencer's blog.. and then i hit random links and came upon yours! HI Stranger. It is so funny that this is your latest entry. I was at the Sacrament meeting where the Lakes embarrassed themselves. (i say that because they are normally very gifted in the singing department) It WAS horrible. I love them dearly, but not their best showing. Hope yours really wasn't that bad and you're just being dramatic. Their's was bad. And it makes me laugh. I believe it was Bry that said it was Brutal. He read our minds. ;) xoxoxoxoxo Bekka Carlson

  15. Oh Bekka made me laugh by reading her eye witness testimonial. I was there too, obviously as part of "it", for lack of another word to describe what took place that day. I was the one with barely any sound coming out and the really red cheeks. We were asked to present a "practice hymn" right after the sacrament meeting and I don't think any of us had ever even SEEN whatever hymn we butchered that day until an hour before the meeting. Then my mom was too intimidated to play the piano loud enough for us to even hear our parts because Uncle Con (yes, YOUR dad) was sitting right by the piano and she was afraid he would hear all her mistakes. There was an extra large crowd that day because your dad, as the stake president, was there installing a new bishopric in our ward. And yes, as my dad whispered into the microphone in the middle of the song "this is brutal", I couldn't have agreed more with him. What a humbling and hilarious memory all in one.
    However, I was also present to hear YOU sing on Sunday, and I loved the Spirit that was conveyed as your pure voice sang. I was actually shocked that you gave me the reaction you did afterwards because I really loved your voice, in solo and duet. I wasn't aware of ANY mistakes. Not having enough breath at only one point in the song is hardly a mistake worth mentioning.
    On another note, I wish there were a separate place to comment on your new blog design. I love it. Love the pictures, and the music. "God bless TEXAS" :) I could stare at that main picture of Collard lake all day. So fun that I have memories there too, even with Sara. So fun, and so beautiful. Little wonder why that is your favorite place.

  16. I am laughing out loud! First of all...Bekka! Girlfriend, I MISS YOU! You are so funny! I am so glad I was away either at BYU or my mission during this Lake performance, so I was spared the embarassment. I have however had the same embarassment as Sally when I was in YW, and asked to sing Walk Tall you a Daughter of God with another girl in front of the primary. She was the soprano voice and I harmonized with the alto. As we began to sing she was apparently overcome with the spirit and couldn't sing anymore, leaving me singing alone...the alto part. I felt so stupid. At least I'm sure the sunbeans didn't care! I love singing alto with you Sally because you never miss a note. It's like you have perfect pitch in your head and I can just follow your lead. Very cool talent.

  17. Eugene Lakes5:54 PM

    Sal Gal: Bless your heart. I hope you have as many laughs about your number as we have had about our sterling performance. Yes, I was the one who confessed right in the mic. "This is brutal"
    You will be able to tell that experience many times in your life and laugh even harder. Love You
    Uncle Bry


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