I sing baritone with a 55-member chorus in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Every year the chorus celebrates the Christmas season with a production of seasonal music. The first half is relatively light-hearted, including some sort of skit to tie together Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Chestnuts Roasting, etc.

The second half tells the traditional "birth of Jesus" story, with the more intensely religious songs like Silent Night, The First Noel, Adeste Fidelis, Mary Did You Know, and so on.

I love to sing, and I like supporting the chorus (the Christmas show is their big money-maker for the year) -- BUT, I've been an atheist for many years, and I feel like a total hypocrite warbling lyrics like "When I was a sinner, I prayed both day and night; I asked the Lord to help me, and he showed me the light . . ."  (from Go Tell It on the Mountain).

The chorus begins preparing for the big Xmas show months in advance, so I wind up singing these nonsensical lyrics over and over again. And it goes without saying that most of my fellow chorus members are sincere Christians -- or at least, they pay lip-service to this religion.

So I have this problem with hypocrisy. I could drop out of the chorus for about six months each year and only visit when they rehearse secular music. Or I could pretend to be a cultural anthropologist, watching how a primitive tribe observes their rituals, while still blending in like a native. Or I could simply sing during the first half of the show, and sit silent and sullen during the second half (and likewise during every rehearsal).

A close friend in the chorus knows about my conflict. A Christian himself, he doesn't see anything wrong with my singing these songs -- for one thing, the show will go on whether I was there or not. But I feel that standing on the risers and belting out "Christ is born!" is necessarily seen by others as testimony to my "faith."

Comments or suggestions?

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The product I am recommending from Soundforge is used to enhace and "clean up" recordings and MP3's. I used to have a pay version of it and am really glad it is free right now. You can do so many things with it.

Adobe Audition enhances and does clean up. It can even change keys. I use it to change the key of audio tracks to my key. But Audacity may have even more options. I won't know until I try it. Thanks!

Audacity has multiple functions as well. My favorite is to take a chorus learning track and change the tempo without changing the pitch. Best of all, it's free!

I can do that with my current software, but like I said, it won't hurt me to try the other software. :) I'll have to wait until I have time. Right now I have several projects I have to work on first.

But thanks, both of you, for your recommendation.

These dilemmas will keep coming up in our lives.  I also faced some such as these, not a singer, just situational which is complex and too long for this response.  However, I feel your pain.  Hypocrites or not, ultimately, isn't it great to know that these choices are ours and determine our quality of life and life outcomes and not some weird stalker dude that knows everything we do and judges every bit of it?

For myself, I made a conscious decision to plunge forward, thus my user name.  You may see me out there and think I blend in fine, or that I am one of the deluded many, but I'm saying to you privately in here that I chose to blend in for the sake of work.  I believe my work and the fact that, when and wherever I get a job in my chosen field, it will be a miracle -- sorry, that's a poor joke -- if I don't have to pretend to be "one" of them.  I didn't make the world the way it is.  I'm just doing the best I can to contribute in a positive way and survive at the same time.  

So if it helps, I'll be with you emotionally -- not in spirit for science's sake -- saying, It's cool.  Singing is fun.  Have a good time throwing those notes out and belting out the music because it's just really fun.  Whatever makes you the happiest is the choice I encourage you to make. 

Thanks for your kind words, CMAT. We all have to get along in society somehow, and my problem sounds much less intense than yours. I'm facing the last third of my life (with active employment behind me), and my assumption is that you're just beginning that phase. Best of luck to you.

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