So I just got back from a rollicking 7-hour stint judging all-district choir auditions. I was assigned to a solo room for the younger levels (grades 9-10), which involved sitting through no less than 80 singers’ thrilling interpretations of the same ten pieces. This is a…special time of year for everyone involved (judges, singers, choir directors). So I thought I’d make a little series out of this and have something for everyone. Like any good teacher, I’m putting the fun first.
Even though singers of this age can, in theory, select from a plethora of audition-approved vocal solos, admittedly, their ranges and abilities are…shall we say…limited. Today, I heard some male voices that could legitimately sing alto if they wanted to. Also, I was in the trenches for a few years, so I am intimately familiar with the horrors of taking a class of singers, most of which have never set foot in a private voice lesson, to bare their manhood (ADAM’s APPLES…what were you thinking?) to the backs of strangers in an awkwardly quiet room in some randomly humid high school building. As a result, most judges end up hearing the same ten songs for seven hours. Because they’re the easiest to teach. I get it. I’m still going to make fun of this.
So I thought I’d design a little game for the teachers.
GUESS THESE DISTRICT CHOIR AUDITION SONGS
They Rhyme With…
(answers at the bottom…don’t peek!)
1. Swallowing The Trolley Dodger
Hint: Most naturally observed in the bass habitat. Has the worst introduction ever. Most people who sang this totally missed their first three notes. Why? Because it’s like this readysetgo! Aaaannnd we’re already in measure 8 and it’s ten seconds into the song. Also, do 9th/10th grade boys really know what a Trolley Dodger actually is? Because it sounds like a nickname for marijuana. Or some illegal drug. Go get yourself some Trolley Dodger (sub in the actual words and you’ll see what I mean).
2. A Boss The Testin’ Lotion
Hint: Also native to the Bass den. If you thought a song in 4/4 and the key of C was going to be an audition piece shoo-in, perhaps you might rethink that after listening to the accompaniment, TEACHERS. They should make motion-sick patches for performers…because you’re gonna get uh-sea-sick from all those rallentandos and fermatas. Good luck following, singers. Also, halfway through the piece, you’re not actually supposed to be singing what the accompaniment is doing. It’s supposed to echo you. :::waits for revelation:::
3. ASS Bum Duh HO Fun-Spree
I have to confess: I gave this piece to one of my private students. She’s a soprano. But I still have to give it flack because in past years, I’ve been assigned to the women’s rooms and heard this song on repeat. Did you know that this song… has dynamics? And that sometimes that pickup notes to each phrase are not always eighth notes? Did you know the girl dies at the end? DID YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS?
4. A-Hair-ican Dull-uh-cry
A.K.A. Shoot Me In My Skull…uh-bye!
Hint: Mostly sung by women, but heard it a few times from the dudes today. Guess what? Sometimes the rhythms are different, if you didn’t notice (and if you didn’t: tsk, tsk). And you’re more than likely not doing them correctly at all. But the range is doable. Good luck on that random high note near the end of each verse. It’s supposed to be like you’re flying and/or crying. Bet that didn’t even occur to you, did it? #TEXTPAINTING #LIGHTBULBMOMENT
Last, but not least
5. Thigh Contempt Bum Doves Thickness Poo Cry
Hint: A Tenor Tune. Heard 6 times in a row today. Unless you know how to sing running eighth notes, Purcell-style, just don’t. Also, Shakespearean English. Seems a tad over a fourteen-year-old’s head, IMHO. But then again, Romeo was like 14, right?
How’d we do? Did you guess correctly?
YAY MUSIC! At a later date, I’ll revel in the fact that I just got paid decent money to do what I do best – judge people.
Until then, do share with me what songs you are tired of hearing….