Or How Sami Conquered a Second and a Half and Lived to Tell The Tale.
First off, I have been a post slacker. I will apologize for it in detail soon but first I had to tell you about my week.
I have decided (in a continuation of my “I am now a quote unquote adult so I need to stop being scared of everything” trend of recent months) that February is Fall Flat on My Face Month. This means that everything I am doing I plan to do with full abandon knowing that the potential for utter failure is a real threat ESPECIALLY since February round these parts is “audition season.”
The major “fall on my face moment” I wanted to accomplish was regarding singing auditions. Now, those of you who have paid attention know that singing and Sami are NOT friends. Sami is a complete singing coward. I have gotten significantly better in recent months (thanks in no small part to the support of The Bruce and the whole Last 5 Years business) but I was still playing it really safe in auditions singing only low to mid alto numbers that could be “acted” over being “sung.”
I am sick of making excuses. Sick of being scared. Sick of playing it safe.
Time to Fall on My Face.
I was looking through some music books looking for potential audition songs and I came across the song “Gorgeous” from the show The Apple Tree. I instantly fell in love with both the song and the show (and Barbara Harris who sang it on the YouTube video I had found). Now, in the sheet music, the song’s highest note was a D4 (the D in the middle of the music staff – highish “belt” territory) nothing ridiculous and well within my range. However, even this relatively easy note was one I would not even ATTEMPT in an audition usually. (Like I have said – Sami = Chicken). WELL, in the Broadway versions of the song that same D was sung a full octave HIGHER than was written in my music. Holy crap. This is entering glass shattering, Phantom of the Opera territory. Normally, I would run screaming away, but like I said . . . Fall Flat on My Face Month . . . which means only ONE thing . . . .
Sami is going to attempt THAT note.
(Have I mentioned that I am a mezzo-soprano? As in MIDDLE soprano? As in Holy Heck that note is way out of my range??? No? Well, I am.)
Well, the TPS Generals are coming up soon and I had already scheduled an audition for Into The Woods so I decided that I was going to prep THAT note for those auditions. You know, two of the BIGGEST auditions of the month because THAT makes sense. First thing I had to do was hit the damned thing. That’s right, I wasn’t even sure I could hit it at all.
Last week, I was trying to get the kidlets to brush their teeth so we started singing in silly opera voices “brushing the teeth . . . gotta brush the teeth . . . get the ones in . . . back.” You get the idea. Well, during the course of this opera silliness, I hit a note that sounded vaguely like THAT note. “Could that be right?” I thought. I went and listened to the song again. Holy crap. That WAS it.
Knowing that That Note was in there . . . somewhere . . . was a positive sign. I asked my beautiful bestie if she would help me by playing the song for me before auditions to help me practice and decided if I could hit it 10 times during the various rehearsals that I would ‘whip it out’ for the auditions.
Rehearsal time – set. Auditions – set. Go.
Then there’s Sweeney Todd.
The Bruce and I had decided WEEKS ago that we were NOT going to audition for Sweeney because Lakewood is pretty far away. More than an hour in each direction and since my pitiful self does not drive . . . well, you can imagine the HASSLE. Cue the day of auditions and all of the Friends of Sami were Facebooking about THEIR auditions and how well they went and if they got a callback or not and Sami CAVED.
Then The Bruce caved.
So Sami shot off a quick email and scheduled an audition (as did The Bruce) for a few days later. What to sing? What to sing?
Why, THAT note, of course.
The Bruce made me an mp3 of the accompaniment and I set to work. Shockingly, not only was the voice behaving, it was acting as if hitting That Note was something we did all the time. I was able to hit it before even warming up as if That Note had just been sitting there all along and was just waiting for me to pick it up. I made a HUGE announcement on Facebook that I was going to sing it so I had external accountability (because I have NO problem letting myself down – letting my friends down is a different story entirely).
The day of auditions nerves began to settle in. I kept running outside to attempt to hit it just once more to make sure I had it.” All told, I must have sung the song in the parking lot of Lakewood Playhouse about 15 times. 15 times!
I went into the audition and put on my best Confident face. After explaining the pace of the song to the accompanist, I began.
And I nailed That Note!
My hands were shaking. The director (knowing me from a previous show) was puzzled at what had just happened.
“Aren’t you a mezzo?”
“That was decidedly NOT mezzo.”
And then I left the room.
I was gathering my belongings when the stage manager came out to inform me I had gotten a callback. How about THAT??
Later in the car with a friend, the realization of what just happened hit me. 30 years. 30 YEARS of being afraid of something that took about 1.5 seconds. 30 years of terror for THAT? I burst out giggling and then crying. She must have thought I had completely lost my mind.
30 years of fear and I had conquered it.
And I get to do it two more times. Bring It, Note, You don’t scare me.