Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

Watching the video posted below brought me right back to 1977 in the auditorium at Northwood Elementary. I was ten years old, dressed in my good white peasant blouse and my bell bottom jeans peppered all over with flower patches and my cork heeled clogs and that little gold letter “A” in the corner of my glasses, waiting for my turn to audition for chorus.

I didn’t really want to be there because I was painfully shy and always tried my utmost not to call attention to myself and blend in with the air. But it was a rule that every student had to audition for chorus because our district subscribed to the education policy known as SADISM which also included hiring 600 pound smelly French teachers and mandating group showers after gym class at the high school level.

I watched and listened as all the students before me stood up one by one and sang Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do a cappella so that the choral director could get a feel for their vocal range and place them accordingly on the stage risers. Altos to the right, sopranos to the left, tenors at the top, the bass at the bottom and OH MY GOD, IS THAT GUM IN YOUR MOUTH? SPIT IT OUT IMMEDIATELY BEFORE I HAVE MADAME LESCHENDER SIT ON YOU.

When it was my turn, I swallowed my gum, stood up and fervently prayed that an earthquake would cave in the stage floor and I’d be immediately crushed to death, destined never to sing in front of a crowd or do long division again. I waited but New York wasn’t known for earthquakes and soon the director was tapping her baton impatiently so I closed my eyes and nervously sang my Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do and while I didn’t think Andy Gibb or his brothers were going to come beating down my door, neither did I think that they were going to pay someone to muzzle me. So I waited for the director’s comments and when none were forthcoming, I peeked out of one eye to see her and the entire auditorium staring at me, slack jawed. I opened both eyes and saw the director quickly motion me over to her side where she proceeded to advise me in a whisper that perhaps I would be doing everyone a favor by pursuing mathematics instead. Then she shoved tissues in her ears to stem the bleeding.

I cried and grabbed my macramรฉ purse and Partridge Family lunch box, ran up the aisle and out the door, never to sing in public again.

I took up the flute instead and spent the next two years in the band room, learning my scales and getting a head start on lung cancer because Mr. Gunther was an avid cigar lover.

Aren’t flashbacks wonderful, in a blunt force trauma to the head sort of way?

My former mother-in-law sent me this video and it has totally screwed up my schedule. I was going to get the transmission fluid checked in my car today but now, after watching this video, I need to pack up all the clothes that actually fit me into my purse, go get a passport and then move overseas so that I can be where all the action is. Because cool stuff like this? It always happens over there. It doesn’t happen here. T-Mobile video in Tralfalgar Square, anyone?

We have Grand Central and Penn Station here in New York – last I checked, they’re pretty big and rumor has it that New York has its fair share of artsy fartsy people so, what’s the problem? Next to Hollywood, we’re the movie capital of the world, for crying out loud … we can’t handle a little five minute song and dance video?

What’s the matter with us?

It’s embarrassing.

See? I dare you to tell me that didn’t make you smile.

So all you American artsy fartsiesย  … the United States needs you. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country and for Pete’s sake, don’t forget to set it to some great music, videotape it and upload it to YouTube so that we can remain the super power we purport to be.

Who is Pete, anyway? How’d he get so famous?

Oh, and by the way, just in case you’re wondering … I still don’t sing in public anymore. I sing in the privacy of my Honda or when I want to peel the chrome off a car in five seconds flat or humiliate my kids at a red light. But you can bet your bippy that had I been in Antwerp Central Station that morning, I would have channelled my inner ten year old self and belted out my Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do all over again in all of its nails-on-chalkboard glory.

It would have been totally worth a few thousand pairs of hemorrhaging ears.

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27 thoughts on “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do”

  1. Continuing the trend of Heathers commenting on the post…

    I had a little, gold H on the corner of my glasses. I also, at various times, had a gold, treble clef, two gold eighth notes, a *silver* flute and a gold piano on the corner of my glasses. No, my vision wasn’t impaired by such “cool” (*ahem*) decorations on my lenses, as this was the 70s/early 80s and my glasses were accordingly ginormous. I was always a little bit bummed that “Heather” is so long because there was a lady at our church who had “Bev” in diagonally sloping script on the corner of her left glasses lens. That seemed like the epitome of coolness to me at the time, all the more so because her lenses were tinted blue.

    Yes, this *does* explain a lot about why I was never, ever, ever popular as a child. I know. It was sort of like the gold letter equivalent of taping a “KICK ME” sign onto my back. Le sigh.

    I thought that was a central NJ thing, though – I have never heard of anyone outside of the tri-state area doing the gold letter thing. Glad to know I was more regionally dorky than locally dorky. ๐Ÿ˜€

    If we ever hear they’re doing a group video anyplace in NYC, we’re immediately going to hop into the car and hightail it down there. The husbands can manage the kids for a day or three, right?

  2. Well, why didn’t the teacher just teach you how to sing “do re mi” better?!!! Maybe your nerves affected your singing. Maybe you’re not really a horrible singer and could improve!

    Singing solo in front of a crowd sounds like a nightmare to me. I’m in my church choir and have a decent voice, although nothing stellar. Fairly good tone but can’t project my voice very loudly. We have about 53 people in the choir, so most of the time I just blend in and try to be a good member of the alto section. Sometimes I sing with the smaller group of 12-16 people, but if I actually hear my own voice coming through the mike that’s in front of my face, it freaks me out and I feel embarrassed. So I can empathize with your young self feeling like you were caught in a nightmare. But at least you had that Partridge Family lunch box to cheer you up after “the incident.”

  3. What an absolutely horrid thing to do to kids, no matter how well they sing!

    And Jan is full of it, her voice is fine coming through that mike!

  4. Oh that’s terrible! Thank goodness by the time I had chorus auditions 1) you only did if you wanted to be in choir so if you sang bad it was your fault for looking like the fool and 2) it was always off to one side of the room while everyone else was super loud while you “performed” do-re-mi.

    LOVE that video and it definitely kicked off my morning with a smile as I sat here watching it and trying to get through a busy signal (which I STILL am trying to get through on).

    I’d be the one yanking out my camera to first take a pic and then to join in the crowd no matter how silly I looked or sounded! LOL

  5. If it’s the same one I’ve seen before…I LOVED IT! I can’t see it right now because I’m viewing this at work and embedded YouTube videos are banned ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. I hated school and this is just one more example of why. Back in the day they got some perverse pleasure from the humiliation of the kids. I can barely do math to this day because of grade 3. But it’s okay, I’m over it now, really I am. Really.

    On the singing scale of talent (pun intended) I am right there with you. My poor husband. We have satellite radio and I know all the words to every song from the 60’s and I sing aloud to every one of them. When the radio signal cut out in the mountains one time he said “Oh thank god” and I said ” don’t worry honey I don’t need the music I know the words” Poor man had to listen to me sing accapella (sp. wrong?) for a couple miles.
    Favorite quote: “They can tell me that I can not sing but they can not tell me that I didn’t sing”.

  7. I had a similar experience with an art program I wanted to get into. Expect instead of booting me out, I got in. When it comes to putting my foot down in certain areas of my life, I can be more than persistant. Needless, to say, by the time I graduated high school the art teachers were happy they made an expection to the rule. I was the susan boyle of my high school.

    Each person has a hidden talent. Each person just needs to find it and tap into it. Some have more talents than other.

    Andy, you may not sing like a angel but your talent is for humor and laughter. THis is something that we need everyday to get through the wad of crap called life. To you, I raise my glass and say, “carry on, here’s to you”. You make my blogs look down right tiny with all this awesome writing skills filled with laughter.

    I love your blog.

  8. My mother was a songbird and in fact should have pursued a professional singing career, but no, she wanted to have kids instead. Had she pursued a professional singing career, I’d not be here, and the world would be a better place for it. That being said, I received a nice pleasant alto voice but can’t carry a tune in a bucket. My sister tried to take choir, and the teacher finally told her she’d pass her with a “C” is she’d just shut her mouth and stop throwing the rest of the class off key, and promise never to sign up for choir again. So much for the musical talent in my family.

  9. I love this, too! This and the other one you posted months ago actually bring tears to my eyes. Happy tears. It makes me so happy to see other people doing something so fun just to surprise strangers and bring joy. I would love to be a a part of something like that, too.

  10. OMGoodness! Why don’t we do cool stuff like that here in our contry more often. Oh wait! We’d all be arrested and sent to a mental hospital and never let out unless we auditioned for chorus….

  11. OMG, MADAME LESCHENDER… there’s a name I haven’t thought of in years!

    Why is it that every time I watch one of these videos I cry? I just think it is so dang cool.

  12. Hi! I just discovered your blog and am really enjoying my little mini-breaks into your world. Your entries are hilarious and I really enjoy the way you find little stories to tell every day. And this video made me snort crystal lite and giggle for a solid 20 minutes. ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. I’m still laughing about the reference to Andy Gibb and your macrame purse! I had an instant flashback to the 6th grade. I must go wallow in sorrow now…

  14. My favorite so far. Of course, this made me smile.

    I would have grown up with a lot more family if they were not captured, taken to concentration camp and killed during the Holocaust…all were taken from Antwerp.

    This is a happy video which puts a nice light on a place that I associate with pain.

    Just lovely. Thanks for posting it, Andy. You rock.

  15. I can’t sing. I wish I could. I love how certain songs just move you. I used to kid myself and think, “what if I just need to be taught how?” That would be too embarrassing to have to sing in front of someone for them to tell you how to do it or just don’t do it at all, you’re right—you can’t sing. My daughter can. It makes me cry when she sings at church with a group or by herself. I’ll just live through her.

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