I was designated by the teacher as one of the three kings who brought gifts to the baby and my gift was Myrrh, said to be a bitter perfume and used to mask the odor of a cadaver in the country after death. As the third king ; though we were really kings in name, not in fact, but astronomers and wise man from Persia. At least this is the story as I knew it at fourteen.
All of us, Kings, shepherds, angels and Holy Family were dressed in appropriate costume along with the braying barnyard in unison as the songs went on in the pageant. My turn to sing solo was the verse about my gift in the hymn, "We Three Kings " as I handed the Myrrh to the Holy Child. Because of the role of Myrrh my demeanor was to be sorrowful and gloomy in keeping with the prophetic nature portended by the gift .
A few days before the pageant a strange thing happened to me and I emitted croaking sounds rather than the bitterly but sweet sounds that I had hitherto produced. My voice had decided to change. It was unclear whether this was temporary or not so we continued to wing it, as my costume was good and my facial efforts were suitably gloom-ridden. The day of the pageant the teacher made a decision.
Lorraine Collins , an angel, would position herself directly behind me and sing my part., but I would make all the mouth movements and gestures silently to the audience, both of the chorus and my solo verse. Lorraine had a sweet piping and joyous voice and she turned it on in spades. It was not a boy- like voice. She joyously sang, " Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume;"
"Braeths a life of gathering gloom:"
"Sorrowing sighing bleeding dying;"
" Sealed in a stone cold tomb "
As I mouthed, sorrowing, sighing, bleeding and dying to the joyous rendition as Lorraine accompanied me, I even then thought, "t I will give up karaoke forever."