Have you heard about “The Circle of Fear”? This circle comes from a story about The Eagles. When they are preparing a new song for a concert, they sit in a circle with acoustic guitars and unamplified voices to rehearse. There is no place to hide and errors are obvious. This is what adds “fear” to their circle; the fear of having their mistakes exposed. This exercise, however, is exactly why The Eagles have such wonderful concerts; their harmonies and musicality shine through in their performances due to “The Circle of Fear.”
Back in May, I was extremely fearful. I was terrified, in fact. My sister was getting married at the end of the month, and she wanted us to sing at her wedding. By us, I mean my mom, my two sisters, and me.
I have stage fright. I try to get over it, but it seems like I sing best in a choir, where my voice is masked and covered by other singers. Ed and I sing duets at church as well, and the last time we sang, we both had colds and our voices just didn’t cooperate.
Our mom has a beautiful voice, and she has sung in public for years. She sang at weddings, for funerals, in choirs and even in the chorus of an opera. So when we sing together with our mom, she gives us courage. She leads us, and we always sound good with her as our leader.
Just a few weeks before the wedding, however, Mom decided she was just not strong enough to attend the wedding. She is battling breast cancer, and her recovery has been steady but difficult. Many tears were shed over her decision; mostly because we didn’t want our mom to miss this special day; but in the end we also want Mom’s healing to continue. We agreed that although it was a painful decision, it was for the best.
I don’t brag often enough about my sisters. I’m extremely proud of both of them. Heather, the sister who was getting married, is an art professor, and her art appears in galleries all over the country. My other sister, Meredith, is a music professor, and she composes choir and instrumental pieces which have been performed all over the country as well.
The piece we were going to sing was arranged by Meredith for four voices. She scrambled to make changes so the three of us could sing it without it sounding too disjointed.
The day of the wedding rehearsal came. The first time through the piece at the church sounded, well, if not horrible, not good. We met back at the hotel for our own “Circle of Fear.”
We focused on the notes; the harmony; the music. We made it all come together. But the fear wasn’t there; we weren’t afraid to sing wrong notes in front of each other, or to bungle the rhythms, or make a bad entrance. We worked out the bugs and managed to sing quite well for Heather’s wedding. We made a DVD of the wedding for Mom, who cried when she saw us singing.
With my sisters by my side, I don’t need to have any fear. They support me through bad times and good times. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Heather buzzed her hair in support of my baldness, and Meredith kept me from knowing how scared she really was inside. They have rejoiced with me when I announced my pregnancies, and have been the best aunts imaginable to my two little girls.
When I’m with my sisters, when I’m with my entire family, the circle of fear doesn’t exist. We don’t always get along; we have had huge hair pulling, drag out fights. But there’s no fear. We always hug, say we’re sorry, and our circle, the circle of family, strengthens us and makes life a little less scary.