Everyone at one time or another gets the urge to sing. But most people resist, especially in those places where they think others might hear them. But if you're brave enough and you've been sounding pretty good in the shower or the car, maybe it's time for you to take the next big step.
* You could try karaoke. The Singing Store, 16851 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, (818) 781-4567 (www.singingstore.com.), has been helping people make that first step for more than 15 years. Karaoke machine prices start at about $250, including microphone. Cassettes or CDs of vocal-less arrangements of your favorite songs are available starting at about $11.95.
* You could go to an open-mike night at a local coffeehouse. Admittedly, that's pretty scary. Maybe you would rather first sing in a group, where there is strength in numbers. Many area church and community choirs are always looking for new voices. The San Fernando Valley Male Chorus, (818) 783-2733, performs contemporary and classical material. Also for men, the San Fernando Valleyaires, (818) 994-7464, and the North Hills Chorus, (818) 831-5114, are both chapters of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (www.spebsqsa.org). Sweet Adelines International sponsors several barbershop harmony groups for women in the Valley, including the award-winning Verdugo Hills Showtime Chorus (www.verdugoshowtimechorus.org) based in Glendale, (818) 500-1063. The group will perform at an ice cream social Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Arcadia Community Center. $10 for music and ice cream.
* Once you start singing, you won't want to stop. So you'll probably get a sore throat. Every singer has his or her own personal cure for throat problems--honey, warm tea, gargling with warm saltwater, etc. But the best is rest. Shut your mouth.