Hi all- Hope this is not TMI, but I need some advice! I woke up this morning with a lot of pressure in my sinuses (but I can still breath pretty easily) and some post nasal drip. Tomorrow I have to lead worship and sing a solo at the end for the offertory. Do any of you veterans have some things that have helped you when you need to sing in this condition? I will rearrange the solo if I can or have to, but I will need to lead tomorrow. THANKS in advance!  :)

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Everyone is different, and not everyone responds to medication the same way, but for me, pseudoephedrine and Afrin decongestant nasal spray will keep my sinuses clear enough to sing. For Sudafed - make sure you get the real stuff with pseudoephedrine in it -- the new stuff they use, chlorphenamine maleate, is not as effective. Usually you have to ask at the pharmacy as they limit how much of the real stuff you can get over the counter, because drug dealers can use it to make crystal meth. Afrin makes two basic kinds of nasal spray -- the saline spray and the medicated decongestant. For me the decongestant works best, but you have to limit it to 2ce a day usage.

So my routine in your situation is the night before, I take a big dose of NyQuil and try to get a good nights sleep. When I get up in the morning, I give each nostril 2 blasts of Afrin and take 2 Sudafed. Then on stage I have either a little squeeze bottle of lemon juice or a cup of coke -- th acid clears the mucus out of the back of your throat to keep it from affecting your voice - so a little squirt of juice or a swallow of coke in between sets helps cure that.

I might drop the solo, just depending, or have someone else do it. Of course, if you have a backup WL, this might be the time to call them in. Hope you are feeling better, and everything goes well tomorrow.
Just an FYI, I think you mean Phenylephrine (in the new Sudafed) which is a vasoconstrictor AKA Neosynephrine. Chlorphenamine maleate is an antihistamine not a decongestant it can be an additive but it is not the primary drug. Also Afrin can cause rebound congestion sometimes.
what gary said. but if you feel well enough to sing, then go for it. and if you sound super nasally, then it probably would be best to have someone else take it. in the end, if you think you can do it reasonably well, there is no reason to make any changes to what you have scheduled.
I'd suggest calling the keyboardist in your group and asking them if they can just do something instrumental. Get rid of that extra stress. And maybe tweak the set order so that all the songs are very familiar and start out by telling the congregation, "hey, I can barely sing this morning, so I'm going to need all you folks to help me out." And set up a song structure (verses, choruses, etc.) in advance with the projection crew so that you don't even have to indicate where you're going next if you're really stuffed up.

Great ideas from Charles here. What works in our church and is something to consider in the future for you is spreading the vocal leading around to where each singer has a few tunes where they can lead the vocals on. Some weeks the wl leads on all songs, but there are enough other songs in the rotation to where others could lead if necessary. This happened a couple months ago when he lost his voice and had to change things up on Sunday with someone else leading on a couple songs and changing a couple others to songs that one of the women could lead.
Yes, great ideas from everyone, thanks!! I do have one other vocalist who can lead, and the keys are good for both of us so that should work out if I need to take a back seat. I will try some of the medicinal approaches recommended by Gary and see how I am in the morning. And yes Charles I think the band can do something instrumental for the offertory. I will do a sound check first thing in the AM and see how I feel/sound. They are good about coming up with something on the fly so that is a great idea. Everything is already up on PPT, and I can have a couple of other team members read scripture instead of me talking or reading scripture. It will all work out, I just have to let it go and realize I might not be able to sing. If I can great, if not, worship will go on, lol (of course). Again, THANKS!!!
One other suggestion - if you haven't done this already, be sure to email the others on the team to let them know you may not be in good voice tomorrow. If they know in advance that they may have to flex, they'll (hopefully) show up ready to do so. And "the others on the team" includes the sound and projection people...
Thanksgiving of 2008 a polyp on a vocal cord turned me into da Godfather. Operation Sept.2009, led 3 songs and a solo this June, finally having recovered my full range and adequate power. So what did I do in this year and a half? I just scheduled other people to lead. This proved so successful that I couldn't get back into the lineup until my farewell Sunday this June -- and even then I scheduled myself mostly because I wanted my friends to hear the voice they had been praying that I would get back! The "subs" who had been reluctant to step forward responded to a need. People grow that way.

Now that's a bit radical -- but think -- suppose you had been hit by a truck instead of a sinus infection. Would the Lord have pulled His blessing away from worship if someone else had led the singing -- even just setting out some old favorites if necessary?

Mechanical advice: Don't put anything on the cords that dries them out. My vocal therapist for the operation would freak freak freak if she heard the mention of antihistamines and over-the-counter nose juices; lemon or orange juice are swear words to her -- even tomatoes or the juice thereof -- anything acid. Drying out gives you temporary phlegm freedom, but slow destruction to those precious vocal cords. You can buy a new guitar, keyboard, oboe reed or sound system -- and you can buy an operation, if you like going under. Take care of the instrument God gave you. If you want to abuse it for the sake of the Gospel, you may "decrease" in that way -- just as pastors ruin their backs lifting bags of concrete or missionaries risk getting killed in a riot. "Necessary abuse" is part of life. My wife, an operatic soprano, teaches English to teenagers, out of love mostly. Brutal; but she still has her lovely voice at 55, largely due to knowing when to sing and when not to.
It will all work out, I just have to let it go and realize I might not be able to sing. If I can great, if not, worship will go on

JB, I think this is the key to your whole question - of course worship will go on, but it's funny how we worship leaders immediately think that we've got to be there even if we're dragging death's door along with us. I know I'm that way and have to fight it constantly!

When I had my heart attack just over a month ago, I phoned my pastor and we talked about some upcoming dates where I was supposed to lead worship. He suggested a break, and I (reluctantly) agreed. The result has been some new people stepping forward to lead, and it's been great.

Is it hard for me to sit in the audience and relinquish the stage? Yes (shows you my ego level, right!?), but it's good for me to learn how to do that too.

Makes me wonder if we should all fake a bad voice day once in a while, just for our own good...:)
Makes me wonder if we should all fake a bad voice day once in a while, just for our own good...:)


I ended up singing a little harmony, and was able to do my solo for the offertory but let others lead out for the service. Today the voice is totally gone! I will be resting it for the foreseeable future!

How are you feeling now Rick????
Doing well, thanks. Learning to take life a little slower, that's all!
You're not the only one with an ego level. During my 'jobless' time we've been visiting a variety of churches of all denominations, around town. My secret imagination said that the other ministers would have all heard of me.

Not. But they have heard of Jesus - and if you think either your singers or your church does it all, try visiting a few (don't wear a tie) and just be part - don't even stand out by singing loud. It opens the eyes and refreshes the soul.


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