There are those who like to fancy themselves as singers and showcase their "skills" at various venues -- in the shower, behind the steering wheel, or through a karaoke microphone.
Generally, the louder they shriek, the harder you cover your cringing ears.
No offense to them; they tend to be our friends, as long as they're not singing.
Let's face it -- not everybody is naturally gifted to make beautiful music, whether through voice, instrument or both.
Fortunately, the Fox Valley Park District's School of Performing Arts is providing expanded opportunities to develop those talents through the new Adagio Music Studio.
Music education is fine-tuned in a friendly, fun and professional atmosphere where students learn from active musicians with a passion for teaching the art of sound.
Students are able to work their talents in piano, voice, guitar, ukulele and percussion through private lessons (and plenty of rehearsing).
Take the Adagio Children's Chorus, for example, in which young singers cultivate musical and artistic growth working on choral pieces. While exploring a broad range of musical literature, they also practice breath control, rhythm and note-reading.
The Gospel Sing-Off Competition is also a new opportunity, with auditions set for Friday, Sept. 20, (video submissions accepted until Wednesday, Sept. 18). Writers and composers are encouraged to bring original pieces conveying a message of the beauty of faith in humanity and the need for peace.
Performers, choirs and praise bands of all ages are invited to audition. Finalists will compete onstage Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.
Also, the Fox Valley Pop Stars Competition celebrates its third year, with auditions Wednesday, Sept. 18, and final performance/competition Friday, Sept. 27. The young pop vocalists who make it through auditions will work with professional instructor Kris Henderson -- a member of the band TRiO -- who coaches qualifiers through their audition pieces and prepares them for the panel of guest judges.
One of Henderson's voice students in the Adagio Music Studio program is 12-year-old Kayla Tejero of Montgomery. Since she started singing at age 5, Kayla has compiled a long list of appearances and awards, both locally and nationally. Most recently, she was one of nine finalists (among 75 entrants) in the Geneva's Got Talent competition.
Kayla's training with Henderson, who coaches her in vocal styles and performance techniques, is helping build a foundation to a promising future in singing.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Kayla will sing for more than 200 people at the Filipino American Community in Iowa. Then, in October, she's off to Georgia to sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs honoring Filipino Americans who served in the military.
Those are some pretty high notes for a seventh-grade singer. And she's hitting them. They say music comes from the heart and, that being the case, the park district's Adagio Music Studio is helping add a little soul and lay a soundtrack to young dreams.
• Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org