A couple months after I returned from my two-year mission to Peru my grandpa Terry died. He was the father of my father's first wife. I hadn't been related by blood, but Grandpa had always treated me well, so I traveled with my family to Ely, Nevada for his funeral.
My sisters had been asked to sing during the services and they asked me to accompany them on the piano. The morning of the funeral, we arrived early at the church in order to run through the hymn they had chosen to sing: "Because I Have Been Given Much." Three of my sisters were going to be singing. Most of the hymn consists of simple two-part harmony with accompaniment, but there is a section of three-part harmony.
All of my siblings who sing don't necessarily have great voices, but when we sing together we blend really well, due to the similar genetics of our voice boxes.
As we ran through the hymn, I noticed that my sisters weren't singing the third part in the three-part section. On the following run-through I sang the third part in falsetto, just to see how it sounded. After the verse, one of my sisters, Diana, asked me not to sing the third part, as it confused her and threw her off the part she was singing. I agreed and they decided to go through the hymn just one more time, then go up to the chapel to wait for the start of the services.
When we reached the three-part section, true to my word, I didn't sing the third part. However, I thought that one of the other sisters had decided to give it a try, as I heard the third part very clearly vocalized and blending very well with my sisters' voices. Upon finishing the verse, Diana shot me a look and asked, "Was that you singing?"
"No," I said. "Wasn't that one of you?" Chills ran up my spine.
My sisters hadn't sung the third part, and it wasn't me. It certainly wasn't my mother, who was in the room but only sings melody and has a distinctive voice that wouldn't blend with my sisters' voices.
A little weirded out by the experience, we went upstairs to the chapel.
When the time came for our number I listened carefully, but didn't hear the third part again.
After the funeral, on the way to the cemetery, I asked my father if his first wife, Patsy, had been a singer.
"Yes," he said, "she sang alto in the choir at church."
As near as I can figure, Patsy was present for her father's funeral and had participated when her daughters were practicing the hymn.
It's the only explanation that makes any sort of sense to me. I know what I heard. And my sisters know what they heard.
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