When I was a freshman at Loyola College in Maryland, I joined the chapel choir,
figuring they couldn't really kick me out. So I learned to sing over the course of a
couple years. My sophomore year I joined the Notable Notables, a co-ed a cappella singing
group just starting up. I didn't really make the cut, and the didn't ask me back the next
year. I was attempting to sing tenor, and it wasn't working out too well. In my junior
year I auditioned for the Chimes, the all-male a cappella singing group. I got in, and I
got to sing baritone, which was much more my style. I spent a lot of extra time practicing
and working with myself, and I had two fabulous years singing with them. I'm not sure I
really appreciated it at the time as much as I do now. Back then I had serious worthiness
issues going on, and so I never really felt as though I belonged. Yet those were some of
the most memorable moments. I loved being on stage!
I also sang in plays in College. Check out my acting career.
When I went on to graduate school, I eventually found the Catholic Student Center and
joined the choir there. I met a lot of wonderful people. One woman there lives in my heart
still. Billie Follensbee was an amazing singer and all around person. She was
"altitudinally challenged," and I think she had lungs all the way down to her
feet. Her voice had an angelic resonance that just carried. We became good friends, and
danced together sometimes. We once tooka trip to her friend's wedding in Connecticut, and
from there we went on to visit her family in Vermont and her sister in New Hampshire. That
was a fun trip. And the all-around crowning moment was when Billie's friend's six-year old
asked. "Billie, do you know Mike? Is he a girl?" There weren't too many
long-haired guys in Vermont!
Also in grad school, I joined a band: The Panic (350K MPEG). I really enjoyed being on stage again. I didn't
have quite the self-confidence then that it takes to make it, but for me it was great to
stand up and say "Yes, I can do this." Eight months later I developed a heavy
crush on the drummer. Six months after that he figured it out, although I had tried to
hide my feelings. For me it was a catapult into looking at myself and my life. With the
help of a terrific therapist, Fredricka Hendricks, I pieced together the various
splintered parts of myself. I'd love to get in touch with her now and let her know how I'm
doing and how much she meant to me.
Since those grad-school days, it's been a journey of personal growth and
self-discovery. I love it!