My "O Holy Night"

Modifié le : 2019/07/21

He took out of his library what I thought was an old and thick missal. “It will be a spe­cial class today. They’re Christ­mas tunes.” I smiled and said to myself, “Why not?”

“We’re going to start with Holy Night, you know it by heart, don’t you?” He plays the piano, plays a few tricks as an intro­duc­tion and I start singing. After only one sen­tence, he stops me. “Well, now, we should sing it bet­ter. You see, when you sing notes, you don’t sing, you have to real­ize the har­mo­ny of the piece, the one that guides the melody. Lis­ten.” He accel­er­ates the chords of the piece. “Har­mo­ny does­n’t move that much, it’s like a tun­nel through which your voice has to slip. It’s beyond the melod­ic line, it’s beyond per­for­mance and emo­tion. Now, lis­ten to these chords again, and then, now, sing while try­ing to stay in this nar­row tunnel.”

I’m doing it. Oh, my good­ness, the holy night encom­pass­es me. I think I under­stand. Vin­cent stops and rais­es the melody with a tone. “Do it again.” This is desta­bi­liz­ing. The tun­nel is not the same. Vin­cent takes me back quick­ly. I’m already not singing prop­er­ly any­more. Damn it, it’s just Holy Night ! I start again, then, so that I don’t sit on these frag­ile lau­rels, the teacher rais­es the pitch once again. The exer­cise is emo­tion­al, exhausting.

“Good ! Let’s move on.” I hand him the book. Vin­cent turns the page, smiles, hands the book to me again. It’s a tune I don’t know. We are a week away from Christ­mas and here I am sud­den­ly immersed in the old-fash­ioned atmos­phere of the last cen­tu­ry. I think my par­ents may have had such a hol­i­day melody. The air is joy­ful and, once again, Vin­cent makes me real­ize where the har­mo­ny resides and makes me dis­cov­er it as soon as I enter the del­i­cate tun­nel of chords. My voice is absolute­ly right.

Yet they are sim­ple tunes, some­times a lit­tle quaint, espe­cial­ly when it comes to lyrics (you know, me, the god­ly themes…). Yet, in my mouth, if I don’t pay atten­tion, the song remains bland, dirty.

“Okay, now let’s attack a real tenor melody. The O Holy Night, or Mid­night, Chris­tians. I pan­icked. “What?” “And you prob­a­bly know the air by heart.” He does­n’t spare me by attack­ing the piece. The tone is com­fort­able. I’m doing it. I’m fine, but I don’t have time to be hap­py that my teacher stops play­ing. “What about the tun­nel?” He’s putting the chords down. Yes, that’s right, the tun­nel, the tun­nel, the tun­nel, the tun­nel. Let’s do it again. Bad, beau­ti­ful voice, Verville, I say to myself. But just before I could show all my range with THE note, the EL of NOËL, perched not very high all the same, my voice died out, my throat tied in the vision of the mid­night mass­es in which I par­tic­i­pat­ed. In a split sec­ond, I saw myself in the place of the singer, placed near the organ, sis­ter Rose bare­ly reach­ing the ped­als of the instru­ment. In a thou­sandth of a sec­ond, no more, I imag­ined my par­ents sit­ting in the church, proud to hear their son lead­ing the boat. I stopped tears in my eyes.

Vin­cent saw some­thing was going on. “Emo­tion is use­less to sing, you have to go beyond that.” Well, yes, but you weren’t in the rood with me, my par­ents turn­ing to hear me… Like any answer, Vin­cent rais­es the pitch of the melody, and I have to do it again. It’s not that noth­ing, Mid­night, Chris­tians (O Holy Night). It’s a melody to show a voice and I’m hav­ing a hard time lead­ing this dance. Like what, I still have a long way to go. More­over, even if he seems sat­is­fied with the result, Vin­cent points out to me that, in a coun­try church, this would pass, but cer­tain­ly not in a pro­fes­sion­al world. Hey, oh, the teacher, don’t have to take the nail fur­ther, I do it enough myself !

I don’t tell him all this, I accept to laugh at it and sub­mit to his judg­ment, because, no mat­ter what, I go for­ward ! I did­n’t think in a year I’d be singing so high. Not long, but still. And there, to dis­cov­er all these tun­nels of harmony…

Any­way, we spent half of the course, if not more, singing these past songs, worn to the core. The les­son was great. If no under­stand­ing of the tun­nel, there is no accu­ra­cy, no ease. Even these high notes, which fright­en me, can only be achieved if we accept, at first, to aban­don our­selves to them, to dis­ap­pear for them.

In my show­er this morn­ing, I sang my “O Holy Night”. It is on the 26th. Christ­mas is over, it does­n’t mat­ter. Christ­mas is more than an ordi­nary day. But if it is Christ­mas every day, the heart becomes light, full of hope for hap­pi­ness. With the help the ceram­ic tiles, humid­i­ty and nudi­ty, I eas­i­ly reached the no-EEEEEEEEEL­L­L­L­LL. Maybe my neigh­bors heard me and crit­i­cized the mad­man who screams at nine in the morn­ing. Nev­er mind, I was everything.