Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Soloist Project

Thanks for joining The Soloist Project in its fledgling stage! If you're ready to write a letter to the editor of a Central New York newspaper, you will swoon at the convenience of the handy-dandy contact links on my Newspaper List. So far that's all I've had time for, so if you live outside Central New York, please find your hometown newspaper on and get writing those letters! And please come back and post them here so we can all applaud your solo!

It was around 1994 when I sang my first voice solo: a few bars from "Oklahoma" in a show tune medley. I was so scared that I entered a fugue state. It was as close as I've come to an out-of-body experience.

Solos are scary. The intertwining threads of harmony fall away, leaving your voice alone and exposed. Anyone with half an ear can hear the slightest flaw.

But you have a chance to shine, with no other lights to eclipse you. You have a chance to carry that room. God, what a thrill.

Lately there have been a lot of voices like this. They are embarrassingly desperate to affect logic but their lies and distortions are just variations on the theme of hatred. They can't disguise this any more than a man with an abscessed ulcer can hide the smell rising from the core of him.

And yet together these singers form a rough harmony of sorts. After all, if one gathers enough recta with complementary acoustic qualities, even a chorus of farts can attain a kind of sonorousness.

If you live in a small town and you're reading this, maybe you also hear a chorus of farts from your local newspaper. If you're like me, you've had it with people comparing gay folks to dogs. If you're like me, you're ready to scream at the hateful chorus.

But instead of screaming, how'd you like to sing?

Don't let the chorus be the only thing the audience hears. Take the stage, even if it's only for a few bars. Sure, the timpani and tuba and kazoos will thunder and blat in cacophonous disapproval the moment you're done, but what of it? You may not carry that room, but by god for a moment every ear will hear your joyful noise.

So make your voice heard. And don't let it be a fart - a fart alone on the stage sounds silly. Your solitude obligates you to sing well. Sing with abandon. Sing of love and grace and dignity.

Sing a solo.


  1. Sing it out, sing out loud and proud! Your plan brought to mind Margaret Mead's famous quotation: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Iowa's fight is a year or two away but the forces are already gathering.

  2. Adriana, thank you for your kind words. I hope to be a force for good.