1.21.2010

Nerve-Wracking

Kjarinda and I, sort of a really long time ago

Yesterday, I had the privilege of helping a friend with an audition. Kjarinda has an absolutely beautiful voice and I was more than happy to accompany her as she auditioned to sing at Religion In Life (weekly devotional put on by the institute) this semester. After we found a place to park, we rushed into the institute building as quickly as possible, since we only had 5 minutes and we'd parked a little farther away than we had planned.

Once we got into the building and found the correct room, we were greeted by a nice young man who asked Kjarinda to fill out a paper with her information. We were then ushered inside the chapel, and as she filled out her paper, we were asked some quick questions by the Latter-Day Voices (the institute audition choir) Director.

(no, we did not answer every one of his questions in unison. I just can't remember exactly who said what)
him: "Where are you girls from?"
us: "Centerville."
him: "Are you Viewmonters?"
us: "Why, yes, we are!"
him: "So you worked with the crazy lady!"
us: "{laughter} yes, we did."
him: "She's amazing at what she does."
us: "Agreed! She's excellent."

After a trifle more small talk, we were finally told to head up to the stage. (Is that what it's called in a chapel?) I sat down at the piano, rubbed my freezing fingers against my jeans to try to get some feeling back into them, got the nod from Kjarinda, and started playing. Oh, her voice is breathtaking, really.

After she was finished, the director informed her that she had a beautiful voice and called her a "sinner" for not trying out for Latter-Day Voices! She looked back at me and we shared a grin, seeing as we had just discussed her last-minute decision to not try out for said choir.

Then, he turned to me and asked:
"Ashley, do you sing?"
"I do, yes."
"Okay, well, we're going to have you sing that song that she just sang here."
He gestured to a pretty blond girl on his left and told her to play the song for me.

I thought he was kidding, so I laughed.
But he most certainly wasn't.
As the girl ascended the steps to the stage,
My heart started trying to escape from my chest.
My stomach jumped into my throat.
My palms turned sweaty and my knees shook a little.

I stood behind the bench as this girl, who was an amazing sight-reader, began playing the song Kjarinda had just sang. The thoughts racing through my head:
I haven't sung
(sang?) in months! I don't even know if I remember how!
Please don't crack on the first note. Please, please, please.


I took a few deep breaths. Before I knew it, the 8-measure introduction was through and it was my turn to sing.
Here goes nothin', I thought.

And I sang. Only the first two pages, but it felt like forever to me. Miraculously, I didn't crack. Miraculously, my voice didn't shake. Miraculously, I remembered how to sing! Though the first note came out a little breathy, after that I was fine. And I was relatively happy with myself.

The director then told me that I had a great voice as well, and asked Kjarinda and I to try singing the song together, so he could hear our blend. We did, and I must say we blended quite well. After we had sung a few lines, though, he informed us that it would probably be best as a solo. I was completely fine with that. He then advised us to try out for Latter-Day Voices in the fall. He said we would have to prove our sight-reading abilities, and if we could do that we'd have a pretty good shot at getting in. He then thanked us for our time and bade us farewell.

I shook the jitters out and laughed with Kjarinda about the strangeness of it all as we walked back to the car; but all in all, I was rather pleased with the outcome.

The point of this exceedingly long post isn't to brag about someone telling me I had a good voice. The point is, it was one of the most nerve wracking things I've ever done. I'm usually okay with singing in front of people when I've prepared, warmed up, practiced, etc. But being asked to on the spot, just like that? It was completely insane. Truth be told, for the most part I'd much prefer to hide behind the piano while fantastic vocalists are in the spotlight. But whilst doing so I remember that I love to sing as well. Since I have hidden behind the piano for most of my life, I haven't had as much experience training my voice, and I sometimes forget that I can actually carry a tune with my vocal cords. Being told this by a complete stranger after I had not rehearsed at all was really an eye-opener for me. Maybe I really do need to step out from behind the keys every once in a while and show off my voice! I may never make it to Broadway or anything of that sort (nor do I want to), but I guess I've got to remember that tinkling the ivories isn't the only way I can make music.

2 comments:

Kjarinda Lambert said...

seriously, probably one of the most random nights of my life. haha. But it was awesome! Next fall, here we come! I love you ash! You're pretty much incredible!!

Catherine Newman said...

Ashley, you are simply amazing. I've always admired your incredible musical talents, both in playing the piano and singing. People have asked me about Ms. M too when I say I'm from Viewmont. I genuinely miss her and choir. Love this blog and all of them!