Singing lessons

contrabandsIn 2005, thinking of taking lessons, I asked my singing teacher friend to be brutal in her first assessment of my voice today. She tested my range, resonance, harmonic perception, etc., and seems to think that I have the makings of a passable choir baritone. My first lesson was good fun and we agreed to three months of lessons as a trial. When asked what I like to sing, it was hard to say. I’d like to sing grand opera (but I can’t), and I do sing hymns (badly). I like old time gospel music, so we decided to start with a few ‘spirituals’ to get the voice going. Let my people go has a range of just an octave, and so is easy for the beginner! A bit of casual research tells me that it was not until the American civil war that texts and music of African American spirituals began to be published. Let my people go was one of the very first spirituals to be published with words and music and is one of the many treasures held by the Library of Congress. The song was collected from the “contrabands” — fugitives from slavery.
The first class was wonderfully encouraging; I’d wanted to do something like this for years, and it was good to start out with a friend.