"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm Not A Singer

But I can Sing!

That's always been my response as I haven't had vocal lessons in a very long time, and I was once yawned at on stage.

Oh, did I not tell you that?

In seventh grade back in, oh, um, 1997 (hack, cough!) I performed a song from a Disney film with a flautist for accompaniment. We weren't friends; the faculty put us together. So...we never practiced. Not once.  And we both thought our own unique tempo was best and were equally stubborn about it. What does that make it? One of the worst experiences of the poor audience's life.

That being said, did Aaron A. really have to yawn so loudly that he drowned me out? Me, with the microphone? And Marcie with her flute, also microphoned?

I was but a wisp of a girl, but even I knew that this was a test. Do I run offstage, or do I finish the song?

I finished the damn song! Before the flautist, but still. My heart was racing from embarrassment, which only grew more so once I got home and my lovely older brother told me that he was taunted with, "Hey Keith - Is that girl really your sister?" and not as in, "Wow, you're a lucky brother, cause if I had a sister who could sing like that..!" but more like, "Wow, your whole family is nuts!" But never fear, gentle readers, as he swiftly retorted to them that, despite our quite obvious facial similarities and very uncommon same last name, we were not related, thankyouverymuch.

And thankYOUverymuch, older brother. I owe you one.

Fast forward 5 years. I'm a senior in high school and there's a big ole musical that we're doing. The California State budget was immensely better then, but we still had to alternate our musicals to only every other year because we didn't have enough money to make a big production of a very big production. Luckily, the highschool about 8 miles over also alternated their musicals, and both schools partnered together so that there was a musical every year for the students, on alternating campuses every year. This meant twice the auditioners so that you could probably get a few good students who could really sing.

I figured, well, 5 years has passed....Maybe I'm better? I was taking Beginning Choir, so I felt I might be up to it.

The show was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and I knew I wanted to play the cantankerous older wife character, Domina. She had a solo! And because it was in my alto belting range, I felt I could do the role justice.

I had singing the last class of the day, and the teacher was also the choir director of the show. She offered to play a few songs for us to practice after school, before the auditions.

In her class, I was in her first soprano section, which was great, because we always had the melodies! No hard harmony learnin' for me! So when I went up to the piano with several other girls after school to practice, I took a few steps back from the piano before we started. My belt is a BELT. I am a power belter!

She starts playing the song and I sing with all my might, and because I had the cd and had practiced a few times until my lovely older brother told me to shut it, I knew I sounded pretty loud. Whoops. I mean good. I sounded good.

The teacher looks at me as if I'm from another planet. I'm drowning out the other girls. I know I'm rocking this song.

At the audition, I am up against a girl named April. April has been singing all her life. April is a singer/dancer. April was in the advanced singing group AND singing/dancing troupe and little ole me was only in beginning choir. We were going out for the same role.

Our voices were different. She had a distinctly more character sound, and when the cast list went up, I almost didn't bother looking. Of course she had gotten the role. She had never been yawned at onstage.

I saw her go up to it, actually. And I saw her reaction.

If you don't remember high school (it was like yesterday for me, cause it really practically was! [hack, cough!]) everything is heightened. All your emotions, all your everything is like one giant soap opera that simply doesn't end and adds greasy hair and acne and braces to the mix. Fun!

She had her hands to her face, and her four friends who were with her consoled her. What?! April didn't get the part? Who did? Must've been a student from the other high school. I racked my brains walkiing over to it,  thinking what that other girl's name was when the list came into view.

I got the part.



I had been YAWNED at onstage, you guys! I was only in beginning choir! It was a victory, let me tell you. I was so happy!

And then I was scared as hell.

I sang in the shower, in the car by myself, in the pretty soprano section of the beginning choir. And now I was a lead performer in musical where I had my own solo.

By the time the show started, I was still terrified of singing up there. And the choir director would always give me the same advice every night: "Just have fun."

I never did. My nerves got the best of me. I was so young. I hated the beginning of the second act, cause that meant my song was almost up. I was nervous everytime I did it, but I did it.

I'm not the best singer, you guys. I'm really not. But if there's karaoke and liquid courage, you might hear me think I am!

I was on YouTube and happened to find Joel Pascual, an amazing tenor who took some of the loveliest Broadway duets and recorded the instrumental part with only him singing the male part! You can sing with him!! If you're a singer and have the computer equipment, why not sing with him and link to it? You never know when Ryan Murphy is going to call you and say, "Hey, we're casting someone to play Heather Morris' sister. Can you sing?"

As much as I'd love to offer you a clip of me belting, the fact of the matter is my apartment is too small and there is a baby next door.

So here I am singing "Sun and Moon" from Miss Saigon, with Joel Pascual. As much as I'd love to give excuses on why it could be better, all I'm going to say is, really, it doesn't matter. Glee uses AutoTune so I wouldn't have a problem anyway.

(there's a five second delay cause I don't know how to edit. I'm lame. sorry!)

If you can find the soundtrack to this musical, get it. There are so many beautiful songs on it. Get the version with Lea Solanga. Cause she's a singer!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely song! And bravo to you for facing your fears and getting that role in high school!
    I've been a snooper on your blog for a few months now via google reader and I love it! This post especially resonates with me as I recently put together a little youtube singing video for a local regional theater competition and I got chosen as a finalist! The video was complete with makeshift book mikestand in my kitchen, so yay for improvising haha.
    Here's the clip! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqU78zNEONw
    Never stop blogging! You inspire me. :)


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