Wednesday, May 23, 2012
But I can't sing... right?
For as long as I can recall, I've felt like I was a bad singer. My identity as someone who cannot sing started forming when I was in first grade. Once a week or so our sweet sweet music teacher would have our class come to gather around a piano while she led us in music. One particular day my first grade teacher grabbed me and told me to shush, I was singing too loudly. The music teacher was seemingly bothered by this teacher's actions. She spoke with my mom about it... how she didn't like that I was treated in such a way and that I should not be discouraged from singing out.
In 8th grade, towards the end of the school year, everyone who was interested in being in chorus in 9th grade could audition for the music director. We all got to sing the same song... "My Country Tis of Thee" I do believe. We all lined up and sang all by ourselves in front of these intimidating strangers. I think about 100 people auditioned. Nearly a third of our graduating class. Chorus was a very popular course. I was quite nervous about my audition but certain that I'd get in... I mean, most people who wanted to do freshman chorus were able to do freshman chorus. I felt like I was not very good during my audition but during the short drive home, I sang my song again for my mother and she assured me that if I sounded like that during my audition, I was a shoe in.
I didn't get in. Like almost everyone else who auditioned got in. Everyone except me.
I had a few reassuring experiences throughout the years... like the time someone told me that I sounded a lot like Tori Amos when I sang. Or the fact that I was invited to sing in front of the whole church when I was small. And the time that I took a vocal performance class in college and no one booed me out of the room. Not to mention the time that several guys offered to buy me a drink after my rendition of "Naughty Girls Need Love Too" by Samantha Fox at a local karaoke bar.
But none of these positive experiences could ever undo the damage that was done to me in school.
I entered into adulthood knowing I was not a good singer. And knowing that I really really really should not sing in public. And that I should especially not burden any directors with my annoying singing by auditioning for their musicals. And then a friend said she wanted to put Hunter and Ronin in her upcoming local production of "Evita" and that I might as well be in it too... make it a family affair.
My acting ability I'm quite confident of... but singing? I'd never have considered auditioning for a musical without knowing that the director already wanted me. I gave her fair warning: "I'm by no means a singer. I don't sing. I apologize for the pain in your ears ahead of time."
I showed up to the audition with a sore throat and a prepared (somewhat) song and sheet music. Sheet music that I would not have been able to provide had I not randomly ordered the Dr. Horrible book for Ronin a couple of weeks earlier. The book just happened to have all of the sheet music for every song in the show. I sang "Penny's Song" and Hunter gave me pointers in the car before we entered the theater. My song choice was applauded for originality and general coolness (by fellow geeks).
And a funny thing happened. My friend told me that I can sing. That I had lovely tone to my voice. It was melodic. Another friend who was there said that I had a nice tone to my voice, particularly in the lower ranges. After I sang the song, I had to sing up the scales (a new thing for me) and I learned that I can sing A-F1 and that is my range. Hmph.
Now I'm no fool. No one was applauding wildly or yelling like they did for the really really good singers who auditioned. I know I'm not one of them. Not even close. But I wasn't bad. I was good enough to be cast in the show. And that means that I'm probably good enough to be cast in other musicals in the future. Good enough to maybe play Penny one day. Or Magenta. Or Miss Hannigan. Or Rosie from "Mamma Mia". And in the future, should the opportunity arise to play one of these roles that I have often dreamed of playing, you better believe that I'm going to try out. Because I just might be good enough.
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