I found this group, Sing Out Detroit, totally by accident. I was missing singing. Now in my 50’s with kids grown, I missed being an active participant in the music I’ve always had in my life. I grew up in a family where music was one of the most important things – being born to parents who had, for years, been professional vocal musicians and later, I performed with my family of five professionally for three years in my mid-teens.
After that, I sang for a few friends’ weddings and in a caroling group but it was few and far between. I went to my four kids band and choir concerts but had not sung in years, except for duets with my oldest daughter in her high school Christmas concerts and the National Anthem for a few of my youngest son’s hockey games. So I searched online and found Sing Out Detroit in my area so I emailed them to set up an audition.
When I went to the audition, at the Jewish Community Center in Oak Park, I signed in on an informational sheet and listed my husband as my emergency contact. At the end of the audition after going through my vocal range and matching notes and vocal progressions, the choir director asked if I’d prepared something to sing for the audition. I thought for a moment (since I had nothing prepared) and responded with “I can do the National Anthem.” He smiled and said “Well, you picked a difficult one due to the vocal range but go ahead.” As I was singing, the two women (Laura and Linda) who had checked me in came inside to listen. When I’d finished, one of them asked me how I learned about this choir. I responded with “On the internet.” I was then asked, “Do you know what LGBT means?” Racking my brain to come up with some sort of intelligent answer, I was at a loss. I said “No,” wondering if this would affect my acceptance into the chorus. The woman answered “Well, then you must be a supporter,” and then proceeded to explain. I felt pretty stupid at that point. I was then asked “So, how do you feel about that?” I knew I needed to answer, so without much thought I quickly said “Well, I’m pretty diverse.” They seemed somewhat amused by this and again, I felt a little silly but I was in, and very happy with this new adventure! I will honestly say that I have never felt so comfortable, warm, loved, and accepted by any group of strangers in my life! This is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my adult life and I’m having a blast!
This wonderful group of people, including some who come and go, have always made me feel that I belong. They give me encouragement for trying new things and learning new parts. And even though (and Judy will attest to this) “this girl can’t dance,” I have been able to feel that I am a productive part of this chorus and have something to offer to this amazing group of individuals. We laugh, joke, learn music and other particulars related to music (thank you, Jeremy!) and everyone is so accepting, supportive, flexible, and loving toward the other members. This group has so much individual and collective talent! I feel so great when I’m with them! One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life was to accept the invitation to become a member of Sing Out Detroit! I’m lovin’ it!!
Denise Martin, Sing Out Detroit Member