In sixth grade I sang high soprano in the school chorus. At the beginning of 7th grade, when I tried out for chorus, something apparently had gone terribly wrong over the summer. I tried to sing “Noel, Noel” as a soprano, and it went something like this:
Choral Director: OK, Melanie. Sing Noel, Noel.
Melanie: scratchy, broken noises that sound like a cat screeching
Choral Director: Uh, what was that?
Melanie, in a very low voice: I don’t know
Choral Director: You sound like Batman.
Melanie, in a lower voice: Cool.
Choral Director: Batman can’t sing. You’re out.
Sigh. I tried Alto. No luck. I had no range, no tone, no control. Why did my voice change? I thought that was for boys, and I’m a chick! I’ve been bitter about it ever since. In 2004, I wrote about it.
This Chorus has Ended
At twelve years my Voice dropped off a cliff;
Soprano plunged to Alto.
High C cracked as the suicide claimed
my beautiful Hallelujahs.
A final note forged by Puberty’s hand:
This chorus for us has ended.
In sorrow, my Range sharply fenced in its scale.
like a cow