Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Last week was a blur. From work, to singing, to my synagogue gig, to the beginning of football season, well, I think I'm still recovering, and not, sadly because of any wild partying. Now that I've had a shot or two of vodka and am calm again, I can recount the week's adventures. JK, of course.

But I lived and it was great. They say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I can tell you, while I am not at liberty to elaborate too much, that saying is true. I am a tough bitch and you should hear me roar. :)

One of the big questions of last week was whether or not I could really make my trip to the audition I mentioned in an earlier blog post happen. After a grueling week at the office (this job is really not supposed to be in any way grueling, mind you), I had about one zillion hours of singing at shul. All of which came after a personal set of what felt like tragedies at the time for sure, that involved me losing a job I had been counting on. But I have to say, despite everything, I was SO glad I was sitting in those services. I loved the sermons, I loved the prayers. I love Judaism. I really do. It was so soothing for me when I really felt like maybe I was about to lose it. So, I am grateful for that opportunity, to say the least.

I had scheduled an audition about a month and a half ago for the Saturday after Rosh Hashanah, partially because I think I didn't realize how tiring the whole affair would actually be, and partially because I really REALLY wanted to sing for the company. It's one of the few times I felt I had a bit of an "in," having met the General Director at the Met Competition last year, who invited me to come for an audition. So it seemed like an important thing try to make happen, despite the inconvenient timing. I should have bought a plane ticket the minute I knew I was going, but it was summer, and I was poor, and I suppose I just thought the money would materialize somehow and I could buy it then.

Well, the money never materialized, and the next time I checked, the ticket was over $400 dollars.

So that helped me decide very quickly that if I was going to go, I would have to drive the 8.5 hours to get there, and stay overnight in a cheap hotel, and then drive back afterward in time for my church job Sunday morning.

Let's just say that around about Thursday afternoon, I was starting to think that maybe this audition thing was just not going to happen, based on the shape my poor voice was in. Since it would REALLY suck to get all the way there and do the world's worst audition because your voice was in shreds. Talk about a horrific waste of time. But coming home after the evening service, I had a little phone call with Ms. S, who I know I can rely on for honesty, and the ability to always tell the truth to me without being mean about it. She helped me realize that I should just suck it up and go.

So I packed the car before the Friday morning service, got my book and my dress and my F-me pumps and my load of make up, went and sang the service, then got in the car and drove straight there. All 8.5 hours. AND I treated myself to some evil and delicious fast food. And some cheesy driving music that only I like. It was the best. I really did have such a good time. Even the Best Western I stayed in was really the nicest of its kind. Although really, maybe what made the trip so downright nice was the opportunity to have just a little time ALL TO MYSELF. Can you imagine?

The morning of the audition, I got up to curl my hair, not realizing that I would be fighting a losing hair battle the minute I went outside. It was a DOWN POUR. Which seems to just be happening to me a lot for some reason. Weird. But hey. We roll with the punches. I come from a large family that had cars that always broke down, so I can handle anything.

In the audition itself, I sang 2 and half arias, and my voice wasn't as fresh as I could have hoped, predictably. But it wasn't half bad! And the feedback after the singing was worth the drive. I gathered all my dignity and walked out of the building before bursting into tears. It was such a relief to be done and to have done well and to be on my way home.

I understand, of course, that you can walk outside and swing your arm and knock over eleven fabulous sopranos, but it means SO much when a panel takes the time to really talk to you at an audition and give you some ideas, and tell you what they really think. It's scary that just feeling respected meant so much to me that day. I have been feeling a little disposable lately, and it was great to hear:

"Jessica, you are singing the right things. You look like what you sing, your look is great. You have a lot to offer. The only thing we really think you need to do is SING more. [Which is why, of course, I was there, to try to get some opportunities for myself!] Stop being a singer and start just SINGING. Find your own voice."

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