Singing with feeling… but not too much!

A couple of weekends ago, I traveled home to Fredericton, NB to attend my brother’s wedding. It was a FABULOUS weekend and I have not been that happy in awhile – I was literally bursting with happiness the day of the wedding. Why? I love my family dearly and to see my brother so happy on his wedding day and marrying an incredible woman whom we all love was AWESOME. Yes, I am a sappy girl, especially at weddings of family and close friends. I have kleenex stuffed literally everywhere (as does Pete) since you never know when a wave of happiness will overcome me. πŸ˜‰

As with many family and friend weddings, I had the honour of being asked to sing. This wedding was no exception – AND it happened to be the first singing ‘gig’ while officially on my artistic sabbatical. I was going to be singing in front of family I hadn’t seen in a very long time and wanted to make sure everything was perfect!

We had the rehearsal on Friday night, which went pretty well – good acoustics, great sound technician, etc. I was fighting a cold (hooray for flying with everyone’s germs!) and it was really dry. But I at least had the opportunity to try the song out and let Aaron and Rach hear what it sounded like. I sang You Raise Me Up, which is a really nice piece but as I warned Rach, I am not Josh Groban and it wouldn’t really sound like his recording. πŸ™‚ It went well and they were both happy, so all was good! Only a few tears were shed by the Maid of Honour at the rehearsal so I considered that a win. Also, I found out I was singing at the beginning of the ceremony, so I could save up all my tears of happiness for AFTER I was done singing, during the vows, etc.

Saturday came: Mom and I went for pedicures, we met the girls as they were getting ready and then I warmed up in the car and we headed to the church. I walked into the church and saw both of my brothers before the ceremony started. As we were standing there I remembered something Aaron had said to me the night before at the rehearsal party. He’s not a traditionally sappy guy but he said ‘I’ll probably shed a tear or two when I see Rach walk down the aisle (good man… she is ridiculously awesome, so I was happy to hear that) and when you sing… I don’t know why but your voice just gets to me’. This was incredibly sweet to hear coming from my brother and I never really knew he felt this way about my singing before. I was seated and waited for the ceremony to begin. As I sat there, all I could think about was what Aaron had said, and how happy everyone was – enter the tears! At that point I was thinking ‘OH NO, I still have to sing’ – and up to a high B flat I might add!

I tried my best to focus and get my head back in the game – really, it was one song and I had nothing to be nervous about. I stood up to sing, felt confident and as I started to sing the first verse, I could feel emotion overcome me. Fighting back tears of happiness, I managed to get through the song, but I felt it could have gone way better had I not been such a happy emotional wreck! πŸ˜€ The ceremony was lovely and the entire day was utterly perfect. It was such an incredible weekend at home!

Going back to the singing with feeling part – it is so important for a singer to be able to express themselves and convey emotion to the audience. But there is a very fine line to tread with it and one can cross into dangerous territory quickly where emotions will try and takeover! It is something that I am still learning to grapple with. If you’re a singer (or even a public speaker), do you have a technique to help you cope when the emotion start to get to be too much? How do you project emotion without being consumed by it as you’re performing? Any insights and advice are welcomed and appreciated! πŸ™‚

About Melanie Anderson

Singer, basketball player, scotch enthusiast, Canadian.
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2 Responses to Singing with feeling… but not too much!

  1. Maria says:

    Great choice for wedding song πŸ™‚ As far as emotional control goes, I can help with some little tricks…


  2. Kerrie says:

    Wow, that’s a tough one, Mel. I can empathize: I was a blubbering mess singing at my sister’s wedding, and even though it was more than 30 years ago (yikes!) I can still remember that panicky feeling, like “OMG, I have to pull it together, I have to sing now!” Not easy. However, I’d venture to say that everyone at the wedding – most especially your brother – was touched deeply by your emotion, and that they will remember your heartfelt performance for all of their lives, regardless of (or maybe because of?) your tears of joy. Here’s a suggestion: if you want Aaron and Rach to have a clean, un-sobby version of the song you sang, maybe you could do a recording and give it to them as a wedding keepsake.


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