The following weekend, I had an audition for a gig.
The audition went surprisingly well...I almost couldn't believe that sinus infection and post traumatic stress from the competition and all I was able to sing as well. But then, I feel that I learned something from the competition. I started with the wrong piece. It was a classic mistake. When I am ill, or feeling slightly compromised, high, fast and loud are always best for me and easiest to pull off. Pair the horrifying plane experience, no sleep and illness coming on with nervousness? And then I stubbornly "went with the plan" instead of following the instincts telling me to start with a different aria? That was the worst thing about it. I feel like I made a huge mistake looking back...it all could have gone very differently had I sung something less delicate. I am still kicking myself for that.
And then that thursday, Joe and I left for Indiana. I'd been planning a concert to celebrate my teacher from undergrad since last fall, with thirteen singers I'd gone to school with. I was still sick, and it made me very nervous, for so many reasons... however, it was good to have another thing to sing for dead ahead, so that I was forced to keep moving forward.
My teacher had requested a difficult Strauss song, that I'd learned for the occasion, and I was going to sing the first act scena from Traviata along with the solo bits in Make our Garden Grow from Candide, which all told are a few fairly big sings. Put that in the kettle along with the fact that I would be trying to fit in seeing family, I'd be back in Indiana after something like ten years... a place awash in odd memories, and singing on the same concert with all the classmates I'd felt so very inferior to for the four years of my undergrad. Yep, it was was an emotional land mine-- which rarely translates to singing well.
We rolled in just in time for the dress rehearsal-- after I'd insisted on a rib-sticking meal at my favorite travel restaurant Cracker Barrel! Yes, I know...but I love the green beans more than life itself and the biscuits also make me very happy. With a lot of butter, of course. We sang through everything... I was still sickish, and totally exhausted after. Everyone sounded FABULOUS. I was so proud, and the vibe was very different-- we enjoyed each other's fabulousness in a very sincere way...it was refreshingly fun to sing. I say that because my last major singing thing had been pretty traumatic, and I have to say my confidence was at an all time low. I kept saying to Joe, as I blew my nose and coughed-- "If I feel funny or too tired, I'll just start with the cabaletta and not sing the whole scene...I'm just not going to put myself in a delicate position again in front of all those people after all these years..." His constant reply was "You do exactly what makes you feel comfortable. Don't do anything that makes you feel afraid. Who cares what's in the program, sing the short version if you need to." What a good husband!
The day of the concert, we went out for an awesome breakfast with my sister and a fabulous lunch with my sister in law, and somehow, my heart felt lighter. I guess spending time with family has a way of reminding you that you are loved, and that even if you went out on stage ten days ago and were a complete joke in front of some of opera's most important movers and shakers, there are people that still find you valuable in some way.
To be continued...