Andy McKay

Aug 12, 2006

Learning how to sing

Last Thursday, between the sprint and the conference - it was a hectic week - was our tenth wedding anniversary. Ten years, yikes. So let’s step back ten years to my wedding. Danae’s sister Kelly Crook is an opera singer, music teacher and all round wonderful person. For our wedding she put one of Danae’s favourite poems to music - “How do I love thee” by Elizabeth Barret Browning. She sang this song and made most of the audience cry with it’s beauty. Here is the incomparable Kelly Crook.

Fast forward ten years and I thought as a nice romantic gesture, that I would learn how to sing so I could sing this song to Danae. I’m not one of natures singers, tonelessly droning along to Bohemian Rhapsody is about as good as it gets. For me this was a big thing. So for the last 3 months I’ve been taking singing lessons to sing this song in front of Danae. If you think speaking at a computer conference is stressfull, that’s nothing compared to this.

Learning to sing has actually been quite a lot of fun, especially when I could forget about all the things I was doing wrong and just belt out the music. What I didn’t realise was the sheer amount of training and skill that goes into singing as well as Kelly does. The pronounciation of words and letters was hard work for me, I’ve got an English accent so I’m at a disadvantage from the start. But the use of breath the placing of the tongue and the shape of the mouth and so on. There’s an amazing amount to know and learn.

Somehow in all this time I managed to keep it secret from Danae and secretly practiced singing Baby Beluga to Emily.

The day came last week when I stood up in front of Danae and sang the song. She broke down in tears and said later it “was the most romantic thing I’ve ever done”. Of course, all I could hear was my voice that was off key, the breathing I missed, the legato I didn’t get right due to stress. It didn’t matter at all to Danae who loved it completely. I think I’ve got a few brownie points for the future stored now.

Thank you Kelly.