This is how I spent my day.

A while back I wrote the Oil-Dri Corporation of America, the manufacturers of the cat litter I use, Jonny Cat, to ask them why the clay had changed. They wrote back explaining that they’d started using different mines. They also sent me coupons for free litter and these two Jonny Cat stuffed animals. This morning I sewed tiny paper towel masks on them, took a picture of them social distancing, and sent it to Oil-Dri. That was a mood lifter. But then …

After that, I recorded myself singing the soprano part for Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6. I’ve done three of these before, but, well, I’ve aged! My voice has never sounded so bad. It took everything I had to upload it anyway, and the only reason I did was because I knew I’d feel worse if I didn’t. Ugh. I am glad I made myself do it though. Your voice going at least a little downhill is just a byproduct of still being alive. So screw it. I’m going to keep on singing.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “This is how I spent my day.

  1. I hear you on the aging voice. I have been a member of an outstanding semi-professional choir for 27 years – since its inception. The Director is beyond inspirational. Due to COVID, estimates are that it will be 1 to 2 years before it is safe to sing with a group again. I am 66 years old. One to years with no singing will destroy my voice, so it is over for me. My choir was my mainstay and my joy. I am alternating between being grateful for the phenomenal music we have performed and the places we have performed in (including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Eisteddfod in Wales) and grieving for the loss of the music and the loss of our musical community. (I have no web cam, so I can’t even do a virtual choir.)

  2. I understand what you’re saying. I’m turning 64 in two weeks. But you can sing along to other voice parts on YouTube in the meantime, to keep your voice in shape. What I do is go to places like Chord Perfect and then I find a piece I like, but I’ll play another part, like the alto’s (I’m soprano 2) and I sing along. It’s really a pleasure, try it. It’s not as good as singing with live people, but it’s actually really good regardless. You can find other videos like this to find other pieces you want to sing. Just try it.

    But yeah, Not having choir for a long time, it’s just so unthinkable.

  3. What a wonderful thing to be able to “keep your voice in shape” as you say! My heart goes out to those that sing in choirs or I guess, participate in any group activity. It’s like life has taken a sharp turn and will never go back to the old path again. Maybe the new path will have its rewards though. – – –

  4. Yesterday I was feeling a little blue because my voice isn’t what it was, but today I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn a new piece of music (good for the brain) and for the feeling of accomplishment from submitting my video.

  5. What a good idea! THANKS! I never heard of that site. I will tell my choir folks about it. I went from a second soprano to a first and my ability to harmonize is so not there any more. This will stretch my brain. First is so easy; second not so much!

    Just for fun, here is link to a fantastic composer who won an honorable mention in a composition contest sponsored by my choir back in 2013. It is amazing that someone who was so young would even know about this poem , much less be able to set it to music so well. The first time we practiced it, it was so moving, I could barely get through it:

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