June Speak Up & Speak Out

June 5, 2024
by NHLA
Dallin BrooksHardwoodIndustryNewsNewsNHLA Executive DirectorOne Common Ground

Has there ever been something you liked but were terrible at? For me, that is singing. I like to sing, but my wife, Sariah, hates my singing. At church yesterday, she commented that the song had a lot of flats; I said, I know it has four “b’s” on it. She shook her head in disgust. I have never been invited to sing a duet, mainly because when I sing, everyone wishes I would do it someplace else.  How bad is my singing? Let me say this: at church, a family moved over on their bench to sit in front of us; when I questioned why, the dad explained that the senior sister in front of them was always off-pitch. I took that as a sign they wanted to hear me sing, so I tried my best to sing loud and on key. The following Sunday, the family was sitting back behind the senior sister. 

Honestly, being such a bad singer is not such a bad thing. I was asked by Sariah’s best friend, a gifted musician, to sing a solo at a road show. Little did I know that my part was that of a monotone Elder. I should have figured it out when she didn’t think I needed any practice. Still, I was a huge success and bowed several times after.  

I grew up singing tenor, ten or twenty miles away from everyone as I worked in the forest. I liked to sing and write my own words to songs often because I could not remember the right ones, but also because I didn’t want the song to end. 

I also sang in a choir, who said my singing was an acquired taste. So, I kept going. I am not joking; my illustrious singing career started in 1995. As a 17-year-old, I was part of a young men’s choir that sang in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle. I was distinguished for my facial expressions while singing. I raised my eyebrows, smiled, wrinkled my forehead, and sang loudly. After marriage, and not before, I joined a choir with my wife. I sang bass, basically so bad that they asked me not to come anymore. So, I sang alto instead and all told me to stop singing. I understood and left without a fuss, knowing how hard it is to sing when someone else makes you look bad. Other choir members couldn’t handle my greatness.  

Why would I mention all this? Certainly not to brag, but because one voice off-key, whatever that means, can still contribute to the choir, just like an employee or board member can contribute to a company or association. One voice, singing out of tune, can still contribute a unique voice in a meeting. We need that perspective. What makes a choir so good is to have them sound like a single person, but soloists, harmonies, and instruments complement choirs. I have traveled throughout the industry, preaching to the choir about NHLA and RAHC. Many people approached me afterward and shared an experience or impression. They are all valid and essential.   

My point is simple: speak up and sing out about hardwoods everywhere you go. If we don’t speak up, then we are part of the problem. No one knows hardwoods like we do, so tell them about what you do and why you do it. Don’t worry about being boring or offending someone; say something about wood to help them realize that it is a critical part of their life. That is the message we need to sing on one common ground.  

Dallin Brooks
NHLA Executive Director
dallin@nhla.com | 901-377-0182


by NHLA

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