If you think that this article is going to evoke tears think again. My memories of my sister that I want to share with you I hope will make you smile, laugh or just plain feel the fun that we had being sisters. This story will make you understand just why my sister was so amazing, my best friend and had to invest in earplugs or a soundproof room.
I majored in music in college. I played both the violin and the piano and had to take other courses too. Keyboard harmony, transposition, strings, woodwinds and anything that involved the piano I really enjoyed. Opera and classical music having to be able to identify any part of a symphony, sonata or concerto when the professor dropped the needed on the record was really quite challenging but not s challenging as the two courses I dreaded the most: VOICE AND SIGHT SINGING! You have to understand I CANNOT SING! My sister on the other hand started in many musical productions such as Oklahoma, Carousel and the King and I to name few. She had a magnificent voice in the soprano range and she could dance like she was Ginger Rogers. Marcia was talented in all of these areas and I well let me explain.
At the end of the semester everyone had to prepare two programs to sing in front of all of the professors to determine how well you progressed. I progressed but not exactly the way they would like. I have perfect pitch in my head and can tell you if you are sharp or flat or off key. That’s in my head but when the notes come out and the words are sung it’s a whole other story. So, when I attempted to sing an Aria from Madame Butterfly I spoke the words quite well and refrained from torturing the audience. My professor agreed that I had this down pat but not exactly the right way so he agreed that I could create a program for the final that would make me shine in my own way.
You know how some call Help me Howard when they have a story to tell or others call Ghostbusters when they want to rid their homes of unwanted spirits I called Marcia Joyce who I knew could rescue me the same way Jon Taffer rescues bars. So, we sat down together at the piano in my mom’s house and planned what we hoped would be a great four song program to dazzle and wow an audience of about fifty students and five professors. Now, you have to understand that not only did my final grade depend on this program but the audience and the professors would critique it too. The pressure was on to create something spectacular and we did. At least I thought we did!
We practiced the songs with and without the piano just in case they would not let me use the piano to help me with the melody. I was told right before that there would be someone who would accompany everyone but not with the melody but in my case they would make an exception. See! I am special and you will soon learn why! We practiced several hours a day and then when my sister was at work we practiced using the tape she made so that we could work on the program on her lunch hour. She deserved more than just a medal for this.
When the day of the performance arrived I dressed for success or in whatever outfit my mom thought appropriate but that’s another story. I looked great I hoped: Hair, makeup, clothes shoes to perfection my mom and sister said. Too bad Marcia could not be there but I put one of those pocket recorders in my bag and another in my jacket pocket and turned them on before I sang so she could hear just how well I did.
Standing in front of all of these people was terrifying and conferring with the pianist that would play the songs in several different keys scary. They told me in order to see how wide a range my voice had. Well! It had a range but more like the gas jets on an oven or gas range!
For my first selection I chose to sing the song in the key of G with one sharp and then the same selection in C with no sharps or flat. Both major keys. The second selection I chose the key of F major with one flat and then C major again. The third and fourth songs I chose to sing in D major with two sharps and G major with one sharp. I sang all four songs to perfection I think. The audience was stunned. You could hear a pin drop! No one said a word. My professor had to grade my work on the spot and this is what he said:
I realize that your voice is unique and that you had to create a program that would be different. Everyone else sang arias and songs from well known shows or the radio but you sang four songs of your choice and considering the fact that you know you cannot really sing but your instrumental skills are first rate and I know how hard you and your sister worked I am giving you a B+ for your efforts and the same grade in the course. I will even offer you another B+ not to take the next class and just get the credit for it.
I think that was great. So, would you like to know what songs I wowed or stunned the audience with? I bet you are totally curious: For my first selection I sang: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in both Keys that I stated above and if I do say so right on key. I THINK! The next song was Are You Sleeping? In French and English and the third Mary Had A Little Lamb and for my fourth song I chose something more difficult: America. Now are you not impressed! My sister when I called her was totally excited. My mom would have liked an A but she understood that this was more than I hoped for.
My sister and I went shopping that weekend and I bought her the outfit she wanted in her favorite store New York and Company and her favorite bag from Kate Spade. That’s the least I could do for her hard work and effort. Then, we sat down and listened to the tape and wherever she is now she is smiling or laughing or both. Miss you Marcia Joyce.
Your sister and best friend forever: Frani
Fran taught for 36 years in a public school in the Bronx. Fran was the reading and writing staff developer and dean. For many years Fran ran the musical shows and talent performances helping to showcase the glee club, dance groups and music groups in the school. Fran has three master’s degrees in education, reading and learning disabilities and administration and supervision as well as a PD in supervision. She is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Professionals. She had her own network on Blog Talk Radio: MJ network in memory of her sister Marcia Joyce as well as her magazine in MJ magazine. She has written 12 books and is working on her next to hoping to have the release dates in the fall. Fran is an avid reader and loves spotlighting the work of authors when reviewing their books and posting her thoughts all over the net. Fran’s books are on Amazon and here is the link to all of them: