Last night I auditionedto bea singer in a New Jersey choral group called The Celebration Singers. This is significant because I have never sung in public before (except in a chorus in 8th grade).
Actually, I once did try recording myself singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story at the Karaoke-type recording studio Sound Tracks that used to be at Downtown Disney in Florida’s Walt Disney World. The result was atrocious–which led everyone who heard it to confirm that I cannot sing. But I always suspected that the fact that the Sound Tracks recording engineer played Barbra Streisand’s high-pitched female voice into my headphones while I performed is the reason I couldn’t findthe notesas I tried to sing the song as a deep-voiced male.
Plus, whenever I tried to compose songs by singing into a tape recorder, I thought I sounded okay. And as a pre-adolescent, I took a mail-order course in ventriloquism, which taught me how to project my voice, and how to speak from my diaphragm, and do vocal warm-ups, all of which relate directly to singing.
Finally, I found that singing Brahms’ Lullabye with my wife to our twins over the last three years has been good practice and that if I tried, I could sing it–and other children’s songs–fairly well.
So, I courageously showed up at this audition. The Celebration Singers includes professional singers who have anumber of serious accomplishments in their resumes. The conductor who auditioned me is an accomplished professional who knows what he’s doing. What was I doing there?
He had me sing back to him what he played on the piano. Then he changed the key, so I sang higher and lower, to see what my range was. Then he asked me to sing an actual song if I knew one. I sang two verses of “Climb Every Mountain” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, a song I remembered word for word, note for note, for some reason, ever since learning it in music class in Fifth Grade (or was it Third Grade?). I had rehearsed it in the car while drivingto the audition, since it’s the only place where Icould bealone andwouldn’t disturb my family or embarrass myself.I wanted to continue and sing the middle part but he stopped me.
He said I had a good ear and seemed surprised that I had never sung before.
This morning I received a telephone call inviting me to join their next rehearsal!
I had no expectation that I could actually pass the audition but I thought, why not try. I drove to the hallafter putting my children to bed,showing upin the last 15 minutes of the audition period. This is how life-changing events take place. It’s always worth trying if you have a desire.
Interestingly, it started out as the company choirof, and funded by,Standard Oil, or Esso (now Exxon). It is now an independentnon-profit organization.
Besides this exciting new adventure, I recently drew some character designs that may be used for an animated version of a bear thatpromotes children’sTV programming at a local stationin Pennsylvania. These kinds of creative endeavors are exactly what I wanted my life to include when I planned to be a Renaissance Man (or at least a multi-talented creative person) during my childhood. It’s true, life gets better as you get older; you get to do what you intended to do, as you keep pursuing your interests over time.Eventually you do achieve your goalsas long as you keep trying. (And smaller arenas can eventually lead to larger ones.)
I’m also proud of my interviews on www.zigory.solidvox.com. I’ve recorded two programs so far. (I would have done more but I have found scheduling times when guests and producer Prodos and Iare all available to be unexpectedly challenging.) Unfortunatelymy music-related interview withM. Zachary Johnson has not yet been put on the site due to a backlog at the Prodosphere, but I expect it to appear soon.
I will apply all this confidence I’m gaining from these achievements to completing my longer and more ambitious writing projects which are still in progress.