I never liked singing very much, at least not when I was younger. Actually it wasn't that I disliked singing I just didn't like singing in a choir. I was cajoled into signing up for choir my senior year in high school. I went to practice the first day of the new school year and disliked it so much I went to the counselor's office and dropped it. I was in the band and orchestra and loved playing trumpet and all kinds of instrumental music. Choral music simply didn't interest me. I'm embarrassed to admit this but the first time I listened to Beethoven's majestic 9th Symphony, I turned it off when the singing began in the final movement. I still can't believe I did that!
My snobbery continued in college through my freshman year but something happened while I was a sophomore that was nothing less than transforming. Some friends invited me to audition for a touring choir that included a brass and percussion section. I was "all in" except for one drawback - I would have to sing too. That was a dilemma. I had no interest in being in a choir. I had tried that once already. But another opportunity to play trumpet was sufficiently tempting that I decided I could endure some singing. Was I ever in for a surprise! By the end of that year, I was an enthusiastic member of Oklahoma Baptist University's Bison Glee Club, a group of guys and girls that became my musical inspiration and my family for the rest of my college career.
Those years and relationships have had a continuing influence on my professional career as a musician. Much to my surprise, I have had an immensely rewarding career as a church choral director. It has allowed me and my family to live in some beautiful places, work with superb musicians, and build many wonderful and enduring relationships. Just think of it. I would have missed so much had I let my pride and preconceptions have their way.
Another unexpected opportunity came a couple of years ago when I was introduced to professional coaching, something that has more in common with directing choirs and orchestras than you might think.
The continuing lesson for me? Follow your chosen path but stay open to unexpected possibilities. From my experience, these possibilities continue through all of life. The only question is whether or not we will be open to receiving them. What surprising directions have you followed? How did you start down that path? How do you stay open to new experiences and new opportunities? I'd love to hear from you.