That was a problem in our group. We thought that if any of us were relegated to singing melody, it meant that we couldn’t hold our own part. Nobody wanted to be labeled a lesser musician! So, each of us demanded our own notes. But the song was in four-parts, not five. Occasionally, Mom could write in an extra note or two, but mostly, someone had to sing along with Billy. Fortunately, at age 5, Billy was beginning to be able to sing a harmony part, but he needed a little help for security.
Bob, age 15, could already sing seriously low notes. Betsy, age 12, handled the high notes (the higher the better, preferably a descant). That left Benny and Barby to sing the alto and tenor or melody somewhere in the mid-range. To complicate matters worse, Benny, age 10, actually had a higher voice than Barby, age 7. (Truth be told, Ben still has a higher voice than Barbara.)
In this song, the melody was pitched quite high over a broader range than Billy had at the time. So, Billy needed to sing alto with Barby. She really hated having anyone on her notes. She already had a hard enough time with Benny.
There were times, though, when Benny deserved being yelled at. He was naturally contrary. If you told him to do something a certain way, his first inclination was to do it the opposite way. He was a joker, too. So sometimes he would sing a tiny bit flat or sharp ---- ON PURPOSE! Wow! That really bugged us all!
Somehow, we pulled together and learned to sing all of the parts, in tune and without getting on each other’s nerves. Mom knew that we would take things seriously in front of an audience. She demonstrated a lot of patience in dealing with her darling, but demanding children. Our mother saw potential in us and was determined to develop our musical talents. We bless her for it!