I always get a kick out of hearing people's most embarrassing moments, but I figure if I'm going to weasel it out of other people, I have to be fair and tell my own too.
So... I have had quite a few moments in my life where I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole. The main one that stands out, though, happened in '00 when I was a student at Rosedale Bible Institute (College, now).
Around Christmas each year, the tradition for the community was for everyone to meet at RBI's chapel to hear a group of people sing through Handel's Messiah. The singers consisted of any interested persons who could read music and/or who had a copy of the musical score.
I had never participated in singing Handel's Messiah and the idea of working my way through the Hallelujah Chorus was too much for me to resist. To me, the Hallelujah Chorus was written by an earthly man who was inspired by heavenly vision. It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever written and I was so excited to take part in singing it, inadequate though my alto may be.
We all gathered together in the chapel. 30 or so of us congregated up front, Messiah scores in hand, while the rest of the chapel packed out with listeners. The chapel held close to 500 - about that many showed up.
The musical director tapped his baton on the music stand and we began. The music was difficult to follow for a newbie like me who had never sung through the Messiah before, but it was still beautiful. It ebbed and flowed and swelled and fluctuated and I was completely engrossed.
And finally, we got to the Hallelujah Chorus.
The glory and the majesty of this song overwhelmed me. I sang my heart out. I concentrated hard on the score because I didn't want to add even one false note to the beautiful symphony of voices.
We built up to the climax - the end of the song; the final grouping of Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, and then the big grand pause before the last Amen. The audience was on their feet, the pause came... that long four count before the final word.
I counted to two, and the last Amen burst from my lips.
Just me. All by myself.
It was irredeemable. There was no covering over such a blatant mistake. The music stopped amid an entire auditorium full of uproarious laughter, the director stared unbelieving over his music stand at the upstart alto who had ruined the ending and I hung my head in shame, sincerely wishing I could crawl under a nearby pew and die quietly.
Despite my wish, the show must go on. The director quieted everyone back down and we backed up a few bars of music to try the ending again. Somehow much of the swelling grandeur had gone out of it. Mostly, people tried not to laugh, especially when we hit that four beat pause again and I actually managed to wait the full four beats. I tried to be as invisible as possible under the circumstances.
As it was, my fame spread far and wide after that incident. I never quite lived it down.
But that's okay. Thirteen years later, I still blush when I think about it. But at least I'm past the stage of wanting the earth to open up and swallow me.
So... I've told my most embarrassing moment. What's yours? :)