From about the time I could talk onward, I was onstage in plays, singing, or both. All through school I was in theater, culminating my senior year in the starring role of Aldonza in Man of La Mancha. I’m sure you’ll be appropriately impressed to learn that I won the peer-given Best Actress award in the New Albany High School student theatre program in 1981. 😉
Then — college. Graduate school. Marriage. Work. Children. I finally found time to sing again, but I missed acting. Lately I’ve been thinking about trying out for some sort of community theater. Lo and behold, a friend and former coworker sent me an email about auditions for a somewhat raunchy play that sounded like a lot of fun; I thought, what the hell, and went and read for it. And, as it turned out, sang; one of the parts involves singing, although the play isn’t a musical — the songs serve as a sort of transition between scenes.
Earlier this evening I was immensely excited to learn that I got the part. Y’all can now call me Bitsy Mae: leather-clad babe of ambiguous sexuality who sets the scenes for the “black comedy about white trash” otherwise known as Sordid Lives.
Oh, yeah — I also have about 6 weeks to learn enough guitar to be able to accompany myself onstage. Fortunately, a friend at church has agreed to give me a crash course in Guitar 101. I spent some time earlier this evening making my first real attempt at locating chords and acquainting myself with strings, and as I expected, my fingers now hurt and are oddly numb. (Insert some sort of line about true art requiring the performer to suffer…)
Fortunately I work well under pressure. Someone remind me of that the first week of January, when I have to know my lines and also begin to sound at least a little bit like the guitar part will be ready by the first performance on January 31!
last night we sang
cool grooving moves with
swaying hips and
we jumped to the Apollo beat
confined in a Catholic church
dead center under the
gaze of a
I opened my door to
averted my eyes from
manifested tortured death
gave over my
whole self to
that suffused the air with
Saturday night I was onstage with Guilderoy Byrne, performing in front of 300+ attentive, appreciative people. My whole life, I’ve gone to concerts, big and small, and wished it was me up there. And now I am up there.
I remember that one day during college, when I was about 20, I suddenly had a vivid realization that I was a grown-up. On Saturday, up on the stage, I had a vivid realization that I now qualify as a professional musician. I’m playing with incredibly talented individuals and being heard by lots of people in a wide variety of venues. We’re even contemplating making a CD.
I can’t quite believe something I always wanted so much is really happening.
Happy, happy. I’m back in Voces Novae.
Way back in the misty past, in high school, I sang in the Louisville Youth Choir with an incredible director named Frank Heller. Years later, Frank decided to start an adult chorus with some of the LYC alumni, and Voces Novae was born. I sang with the group since its inception; but I felt the need to take last year off, because I had just started singing with Guilderoy Byrne, work was chaotic, you name it — I needed my Monday nights for myself.
But I missed it all year. When I went to the November 2005 concert, I was ready to cry because I wanted so very badly to be up there, sharing the beauty of the music. So I auditioned this summer to regain a spot, and I just got the call.
I’ve missed singing soprano. In Guilderoy, I use my alto/folk/chest voice; in Voces, I use my soprano/classical/head voice. I’ve got a big voice with a large range, and it will be fun to use all of it by singing in two such different ensembles.
If you enjoy choral music and you’d like to support an outstanding nonprofit choir, buy a CD. (Heck, buy several — they make great gifts.)