Wicked Wednesday — Our History — Musical talents

We are celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing bits of our history.  This week we are talking about our musical abilities. Wickeds answer the following questions:

1. Do you (or did you) play a musical instrument?

Edith/Maddie: I played the cello for four years until it was a choice between wearing mini-skirts to high school or playing the cello (the two don’t mix). I picked fashion!

Liz: Piano for 15 years!

Jessie: I played the flute for five years.

Julie: I don’t, but I just bought a ukulele.

Sherry: Julie, I want to hear more about the ukulele! I took piano lessons for several years.

Barb: I took piano for several years, but you guys have heard about my fine motor skills in relation to typing, so you can imagine how piano went.

2. Did you want to? If so what?

Edith/Maddie: I wanted to play the bass but they didn’t have one small enough!

Liz: I wanted to learn piano. Also thought guitar would be cool.

Jessie: I did want to play an instrument. I was more interested in oboe or the saxophone but we already had a flute in the house so that was the one that I ended up learning to play.

Julie: I always wanted to be able to play the piano. I have very talented friends who do, and it is amazing to watch them fill up a room with music.

Sherry: I can’t remember if I wanted to or if I was told to. I liked playing but I didn’t like practicing. My sister was a much better player than I was.

Barb: I really admire people who can play instruments and I love to listen to my friends play. But what I would really like to be able to do is write a great little pop song.

3. Can you sing?

Edith/Maddie: I can carry a tune and love singing in groups, but don’t ask me to solo.

Liz: God no.

Jessie: I think everyone can sing, at least enthusiastically if not melodically! I am not at all gifted but I love singing made up songs to my dog, Sam, as we go about our day.

Julie: One of my great regrets is that when my fifth grade chorus teacher told me I couldn’t I believed her. I want to feel comfortable singing in public, which I’ve never done.

Sherry: I always say I have a fabulous four note range.

Barb: I can, or actually I could. Pretty rusty. But I have soloed. “Oh Holy Night,” in six grade chorus. And when I worked for WebCT we put on elaborate skits at the end of our annual users conference which involved both singing and wearing costumes in front of hundreds of people. How did this happen to me of all people? One year I soloed to “Blackbird” while dressed as Yoda. “Blackboard support is gone for the night…”

4. Did you sing in a chorus?

Edith/Maddie: I sang in church choir as a child and after every meal at girl scout camp. I love singing rounds.

Liz: Once, I made the school chorus.

Jessie: I sang in the high school chorus one year. It was fun.

Julie: No, see above.

Sherry: I sang in our church choir as a kid and in school chorus until tenth grade. In sixth grade I was selected to sing in a small group for a special city-wide teachers meeting. One of the songs was “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I still sing that song.

Barb: I sang in church choir in junior high and high school. Cute guys in my church choir, is all I’m sayin’.

5. Do you sing for fun? Karaoke?

Edith/Maddie: If “for fun” means to myself, yes, Karaoke, never.

Liz: Again, God no. In the car, yes. In front of people? Never.

Jessie: I sing along in the car and to my dog. I can hold my own if I find myself in a church so long as there is a hymnal to use. I sing in my shower, especially if the water starts to run cold!

Julie: Again, no. But would like to.

Sherry: I love to sing and have gone to karaoke a couple of times. Once some friends and I jumped up on the stage when a guy was singing Ride Sally, Ride and became his backup singers. I don’t think he was amused, but we had fun.

Barb: Only to my grandchildren, which for some reason chokes me up terribly. I can hardly make it through a song.

6. Should we form a band?

Edith/Maddie: Only if I get to be backup singer with the option to whip out a kazoo.

Liz: LOL. Only if it has a cool name.

Jessie: You ladies feel free to go on that trip without me!

Julie: I can lip synch and could do backup choreography

Sherry: It seems like we are going to need a lead singer. Barb’s our only hope at this point.

Barb: I’ll do it, but only if I don’t have to wear a Yoda costume.

Readers: Answer the same questions!

33 Thoughts

  1. Good morning! How fun.
    1. I can play the guitar although it has been quite a while.
    2. I wanted to play the piano or the violin. I still eye pianos at estate sales, thinking I could start learning now. Shame I have no room for one.
    3, 4, 5. I do sing. We sang a lot in our family growing up, usually in four part harmony. I’ve joined choirs wherever I’ve lived, and my current choir, Alexandria Choral Society has a concert this Saturday evening celebrating 50 years as a choir. When I was younger, I did a lot of solos, but I’ve gotten wobbly on the really high notes. Have gone from first soprano to second and am contemplating alto. Tuesday evening choir practice is my therapy.

  2. 1. I played the clarinet, flute and trumpet.
    2. I wanted to play the piano.
    3. Not out loud
    4. No
    5. No-okay using my internal voice.
    6. I can lip synch

  3. I love music BUT 1. I can’t play an instrument. 2. I wish I could play piano or guitar or both. 3. I’m with Liz–God no! 4. I did sing in my high school chorus, but softly so they didn’t throw me out. 5. If I sing, my cat gives me pained looks. 6. If we’re going to form a band, I might be able to fake being able to play the tambourine. Or I’ll do a duet with Edith on the kazoo!

  4. I always wanted to play the piano, but I never had the opportunity. I love to sing, but I don’t Think I sing well. My favorite place to sing is in the car by myself. I sing at church and sometimes sing in front of my nephew if we are driving somewhere together. That’s the extent of my public singing.

  5. Never had the opportunity to play a musical instrument. Although though being able to play the piano would be awesome. When I was young, I thought I’d try to do it when I got older – on my own. Then there were bills to pay and little one to run after. At that time, I thought later when we retire. Now I seem to do good doing what has to be done and a few minutes to enjoy photography which hubby and I both love.

    Wouldn’t punish others by singing. I have no musically talent including not knowing one note from another which apparently helps in singing. I do love to belt out with the golden oldies when I’m in the car (by myself) headed somewhere. No critics and no ears to hurt but my own. I did sing in school evens as dictated, but sang softly to where I was more or less lip singing.

    As for starting a band, I say go for it! I would do any such band a favor and be the one standing to the side, swaying with the music and lending moral support.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. I had a guitar as a kid but I preferred my pets bunnies, reading and learning things like drawing nature-painting it, knitting, crochet, making things for people..

    You are all very talented in multiple ways. 🙂

  7. I play the pedal harp. As for singing, loudly and without concern for who else is in the car.

    Keenan Powell

  8. I took four years of piano lessons as a kid. Can’t even fumble my way through Chopsticks. My church begged kids (actually sorta threatened them) to join the choir. I did. I was so bad they kicked me out.

    I can belt out a tune in the care\ along with the oldies, but never when anyone else is around. I don’t even pretend when in a church. I take pity on my fellow beings.

  9. What a fun questionnaire. I actually love music, took piano lessons for 5 years with no talent whatever, cannot sing at all. If I could have had one gift around the cradle, it would not have been beauty, riches, height or even writing genius. It would have been musical ability.

  10. Yes I was a musician. I had 4 periods a day of music in high school, Senior Band, Dance Band, Orchestra and Marching Band. My main instrument was the Trumpet but I also play soprano sax (b flat like my trumpet), drums (took lessons), guitar (self taught) and piano (Sy Sugar was the teacher). Basically I was a utility player in school. If the marching band was short and we had a full house of horns I’d play snare or bass drum or Glockenspiel. In Orchestra one time I played symbols for the Star Spangled Banner.

    I played drums 2 night a week later on at the Red Garter in Greenwich Village. It was a Dixie Band Jazz Club. My younger son plays piano and keyboards, my eldest grandson and his sister play guitar and my Son in Law is a kick ass drummer.

    Quick note.. My Magic Swag Bag is running on fumes. If any of your ladies can help me refill it with bookmarks and or cover cards I’d be very thankful.

    1. I’m unfamiliar with your Magic Swag Bag. And bookmarks I have – an overabundance of them. Please send me a private message with the details.

  11. Seems to me you already have your cool band name to go out on tour – The Wicked Sisters. I’m thinking a yacht rock vibe given the titles of your books.
    As for me, I can play a mean air guitar, but that’s about it. I did play the role of Harold Hill in The Music Man my senior year in high school. That was a lot of fun!

  12. 1. I took piano lessons from age 5 until I graduated high school. I took violin lessons from 4th through 12th grade. And I taught myself viola in high school when we didn’t have one for the high school string quartet. So yes. 🙂

    2. What I really wanted to play was saxophone, and that would have meant starting with the clarinet. But my grandmother paid for the instrument rental and she said violin or flute. I picked violin. Once I taught myself viola, I wished I’d have had that option.

    3. Yes. I currently cantor at my church. I’m also in the choir and the Schola Cantorum (we sing chant and Latin)

    4. Yes. I did a special chorus you had to audition for in high school, as well as the regular choir.

    5. I’ve never done Karaoke.

    6. Umm, can I pass on this one? 😀

  13. Answer the same questions she said. As if I’m not trying to answer on my phone.

    1. I took 10 years of piano, but have hardly touched it since I stopped in 10th grade. I picked up the guitar for a number of years, but haven’t touch that much in the last decade either. And I was in the hand bell choir at an old church for a couple of years.

    2. I wasn’t that interested in piano, but I’ve always wanted to play guitar.

    3. Some days yes. Some days no. Although I think some of that is the range I’m trying to sing in.

    4. I sang in kids and teens choirs in church growing up. I joined the choir at my last church as an adult for a year and a half.

    5. All the time. An advantage of living alone is that I can sing and no one cares. I sing in the car as well. I’m sure I look strange when I really get into a song and am bopping all around to it.

    6. Yes, you definitely should.

    Here’s the thing for me. Despite all my musical background, it has always been and will always be hard work for me. I enjoy it, but it is a challenge. I sing by hearing, so hearing the harmony for choir is a challenge. My guitar playing is limited to one basic strum. And let’s not talk about how my piano has atrophied. I’m self-conscious about singing in public, so solos are extremely scary. But I’ll watch The Wicked Singers.

    This was a very fun post. Can’t wait to see what else you tackle this month.

  14. What a great topic!

    1. In high school, I played Cornet, Viola, and Piano (all very badly). After high school, I continued taking piano on my own volition for several years, but never got good enough to accompany someone.

    2. I really wanted to play the piano better (probably because it would give me something to do at parties, so I wouldn’t have to try and make conversation).

    3. I USED to be able to sing. Alas, that’s something that has to be kept in use to be viable, and I can no longer sustain a tone, nor find pitch, nor hit the high end of my range (I’m a baritone). But it was something I loved and I got so much joy singing in choral groups and performing. My heart’s desire was to sing in a musical, but I never got the opportunity to do that, alas.

    4. I sang in my high school choir (and still remember the baritone parts to a lot of the pieces we did). I also performed solo in our high school variety shows, singing Tom Lehrer songs. (If you don’t know Tom Lehrer, he was a Harvard mathematics professor who also wrote and performed satirical songs. My personal favorites were Pollution, New Math, The Vatican Rag, and Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. He put out about five albums, and you can still find them on Amazon.

    After high school and college (for some reason, I never sang in college – don’t know why), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music decided to do a Sing It Yourself Messiah at the SF Opera House. It was televised on our local Public Television channel, and I decided to go. We’d sung the Hallelujah Chorus in high school, and I figured it would be fun to sing that again with a big crowd. When I got there, they had scores of the whole Messiah available, so I took one, thinking I would just follow along and listen to the other pieces.

    I lucked out and happened to sit near a few other basses who actually knew the music. (It turns out the SF Conservatory salted all their singers throughout the audience to give a foundation to the rest of us “semi-singers,” and when everyone around me started singing, “And the glory, the glory of the Lord.” it was easy to join in and sing along. In fact, it was just about impossible not to do so.

    Then we got to “For unto us a child is born,” and singing those almost shouted notes of “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Oh what exhilaration! What JOY in singing those wonderful notes along with others.

    By the time we got through the “Amen.” I was exhausted and (to coin a cliche) like limp dishrag. Most of us in the crowd there in the Opera House weren’t “singers,” just ordinary folks who loved Messiah. But we’d all come together and made it through this wonderful oratorio and created this music TOGETHER. After the brief bit of silence at the end, the whole place erupted in cheering like a Forty-Niners game. It was probably at that moment I first realized how much more wonderful it was to SING choral music than just listen to it.

    The event was so successful, that the Conservatory, decided to do it again the following year, this time adding a second performance (because of the demand). For many years, you had to buy your tickets on the day they went on sale or you were out of luck. A lot of us would go to both performances.

    Then the Conservatory decided to add “Learn It Yourself Messiah” classes. You went to the Conservatory once a week for four weeks and worked with the conductor, Louis Magor, and an accompanist on the piano and actually learned all the choruses. Several folks from work would go with me, and we’d car pool up to San Francisco. I can’t tell you how much fun it was. Quite honestly, it was always the highlight of my year.

    And then, after several years of this, they decided to add (as an alternative to the classes) a Messiah weekend retreat. We would go up to this Episcopal retreat center in Healdsburg, arriving Friday evening. We’d have dinner, then a two-hour rehearsal. We had another two-hour rehearsal Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon was free to wander around the Healdsburg area, visit wineries, etc. We had another rehearsal Saturday evening, and a final one Sunday morning. It was the same content and amount of practice as the four weeks of classes, but all concentrated into a single glorious weekend.

    And again, I and my friends would go to BOTH the four weeks of classes plus the retreat plus the two Messiah performances.

    Then we started going to other Sing-It-Yourself Messiahs throughout the Bay Area, especially the Schola Cantorum one in Cupertino. Then we discovered that many of these groups also did other choral works throughout the year, and that they were always looking for additional singers (especially men).

    By the way, it is a well known fact, that in any random choral assemblage, there will always be a plethora of altos, plenty of sopranos, a handful of basses, and exactly two tenors. I’m not sure why this is so, but it is. I’ve always suspected that there are only two tenors in the universe, and they are kept frantically busy running to attend every choral group.

    5. Along with my back, my knees, and my short term memory, my singing voice is alas yet another casualty of age, so I no longer sing (except when alone … and even then I find if I try to hit those high notes, my dog will leave the room). I’ve never done karaoke, since in my experience those participating tend to be very drunk,with the results you’d expect when a drunk person decides to sing.

    6. I think JC Kenney is absolutely correct. You need to call your band The Wicked Sisters. Then, your backup dancers could be called The Wicked Step Sisters. Perfect!

  15. I’ve never gone to a singalong Messiah but I’ve always wanted too — thanks for sharing this story! And I love the backup dancers title! Very clever!

  16. I played the violin in grade school, a “fiddle” that was my father’s uncle’s and is now with my great-niece. In junior high I had to choose between “accelerated” classes and orchestra, and Dad advised me to pick the path most likely to get me a scholarship to college to be a teacher.
    As for singing, I can mange a bit now, especially in a group, thanks to a class at COCA, Singing for People Who’ve Been Asked Not To.” It was so popular, they had to add a second section. Highlights after that were singing a bit of “St. Louis Blues” in Istanbul, “This Land Is Your Land” to an adopted Romanian boy as our plane first flew over U.S. land, and Pete Seeger leading a group at the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. “Make a joyful noise!” <3

    1. I love that you are passing the violin down from generation to generation — that is special. And your singing experiences — WOW!

  17. Played the flute in the school band from 5th grade through my first year of college. Taught myself guitar later. I only sing when I’m alone in the car where no one can hear me. Nobody WANTS to hear that!

  18. I played piano for several years as a kid, also clarinet in school band and now I ring in a 7-8 octave hand bell choir! As for singing – I was told in first grade that I couldn’t be in the chorus , so I’ve assumed correctly all these years that I can’t sing! However, I do sing in church if the music is loud and there’s lots of people around me! i sang to my kids as babies but when my daughter started singing around age 3 and had pretty good pitch I stopped, didn’t want to mess her up! She ended up being very musical, playing piano and viola, had an excellent ear and could hear music on the radio or CD and play it back!

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