Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do you like Show Choir? Why yes, I do. The Early Years

When I was little, I loved to dance and sing.  All the time.  I'm sure my relatives could tell you stories.  But I'm going to fast forward a little bit, starting with middle school.  I had a very strange sixth grade year, where I moved after the first nine weeks to a new school.  At the new school, the music/choir teacher was awesome!  That's actually where I started coming out of my shell.  She gave me my first solo.  It was the second verse of the song, "The Greatest Love of All."  This other little girl was singing "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.  I decided after I heard that little girl sing it, I was obsessed with that song and movie.  It's still my favorite Disney movie to this day!  I walked in to Mrs. V. and said, "I want to sing 'Part of Your World.'" She said, "Ok."  Then, she said, "I actually like you better on this song!"  Wow, what a boost to a sixth grader's little ego!  So, for the last day of the year, the other little girl had already picked out a different solo, so, I got to sing "Part of Your World."
Then, the week before school started, my parents found a new house to rent, back in the first school's boundaries.  The first two weeks of school, they drove me back and forth.  Then, we moved.  In seventh and eighth grade, I learned the pollitics of teachers having favorites.  It sounds crazy at that age, but it was true.  We sang and danced in these grades for all of our shows.  This is also the first time I would meet the choreographer that also choreographed for the high school choirs. He also choreographed for a season for the dance team I was on in High School.  But I digress. 
My seventh grade year, I felt liked.  I felt almost like a favorite.  Then, I realized, I wasn't getting any of the big solos.  My eighth grade year, the whole grade new that the seventh graders were the favorites for the middle school. 
Other things were still going on with me personally.  I was very sick in the seventh grade with constant kidney infections.  This is when the figured out, the first surgury that was supposed to fix the problem didn't work.  I remember being in the cafeteria during the Christmas Show in seventh grade, and sitting with my head on the table.  A parent said, "Are you OK?"  I just answered, "I don't feel well."  I was really sick after that.  I had a repeat of the very same surgury I had when I was eleven, when between 7th and 8th grade.  Then, I started feeling better.
I started high school feeling like, this is my chance!  A new start!  Well, sure, ok.  The freshman girls choir sang and danced.  All freshman girls were shoved into the same choir, whatever the girl's singing abillity was.  That was an interesting year.  I was also on the Dance Team starting in my freshman year of high school all the way through my senior year.  My freshman year was the first time I was exposed to what real show choir was. I went to what was called a "Preview Night."  I was enthrawled from that moment on.  There were other choirs that existed that also danced.  There was a Women's choir and a Mixed Choir.  So, there were three choirs that sang and danced and there was a concert choir.  Well, the audition process started.  We were told to prepare a song.  We were also given a sheet to rank the choirs in order of which ones we wanted to be in. Well, I put the top mixed choir and the the concert choir in second, with the women's choir in third.  Well, I auditioned.  The big day came where the lists where posted.  We all ran down to the music hallway as soon as the last bell of the day rang! Some people were excited and running out of the hallway with huge smiles on their faces.  Some people were mad.  Some people were running out of the hallway sobbing.  So, I walked down the hallway slowly.  What did my future have in store for me?  I slowly start to look for my name on the list.  There are about 400 people who had audtioned for the choir spots. It took me a few minutes to find my name on the massive list.  There was my name.  Ok, what choir was linked to it?  The Women's Choir.  OK, I could deal with that.  I was going to sing and dance.  It wasn't what I had my heart set on, but I could deal. 
It was an interesting first semester to say the least.  The director for the choir went on maternity leave, and her sister directed us for the first semester of the school year.  The dresses that she picked out for us were tragic.  She also decided to go with the straight line method.  That's when all of the dresses make a straight line on stage. That also means since I was the shortest person in the choir, my dress was the shortest.  The tallest person's dress was the longest.  They were blue with white fringe that was zig-zagged.  I still have mine.  It leaves blue sequence every where I put it.  We survived the semester that included singing "We Are Santa's Elves."  Yes, a little bit traumatic.  The second semester started, and our teacher was back.  Some how, she managed to pick songs that made the dresses work.  Songs like "Romeo," "And All That Jazz" and a "Dream Girls" Medley were our competition songs for that season.  We went to Kings Island to compete with our follow students in the mixed choir.  We won.  We even got Grand Champion for the entire competition... which pissed off the other director of the mixed choir royally.  The two choirs were not even supposed to be competing against each other, but for some reason, the events got combined.  The women's choir was elated!
Then, auditions rolled around again.  Well, I learned my lesson from the year before. When I went in to audition, I had my little order of what choirs I wanted to be in written down.  I put the concert choir, the top mixed show choir, and then, the choir I was in before, the women's choir.  I knew, after being in the women's choir that had the same director as the concert choir, I had a very good chance that I would get into the concert choir.  That director was also really big on having a grasp on general theory and the abillity to sight read.  Well, I had really worked on those things, and also being a violinist helped with the theory.  Well, the audition happened, and I made the concert choir. 
Well, this choir was mostly known for singing, not for dancing.  We still had to learn some choreography for things like the opener for the Christmas show and Spring show. Also, we did a medley from a musical for our Spring show.  Well, the choice that year was "Phantom of the Opera." We had this stage that had a gigantic staircase down the center of it.  Well, each stair was about a thrid of my heighth.  From the beginning, I felt like I was going to trip and fall down the stairs.  So, I couldn't really enjoy singing the music due to fear of dying. I survived that year. 
Then, auditions rolled around again.  I used "Part of Your World" as my auditon piece.  I really wanted to be in that top mixed show choir!  The director told me he thought I sounded good.  He invited me to come to call backs. There were a lot of girls at call backs!  I tried my best.  I went down the day the list was posted.  I braced myself.  Next to my name, the Concert Choir. That was it.  No show choir! 
The next year, my senior year, continued on.  I still enjoyed every moment of that year.  We sang some amazing contest pieces. A few of them are still favorite pieces of mine to this day.  For the spring show, we sang a medley from "Rent."  It was such a fun medley!  The concert choir also closed the show that year, which was unheard of!  The top mixed show choir always closed the show.  I had a lot of fun that year. 
The thing that most of us figured out about the top mixed choir was, every girl was a size 2 except for one.  I had to say to myself: was the reason I wasn't picked for this choir my body type?  Here's the thing: I wasn't that big, I was just slightly over weight.  I was dancing and training with the dance team at least 8 to 10 hours a week.  I had a large trampoline in my back yard I was jumping on for a couple hours a week.  Why was I having so many issues with weight? I really beat myself up over this for years and still think about it to this day.  If I was a size 2, would I have been in that choir?  Also, my mother kept repeating something to me that she had heard the director say once. Each member that I pick for this choir music be able to be a star!  Was I not a star?  I knew I could sing, but did I not have star potential?  What kind of star quality were people looking for that I needed to create and cultivate within me?  I needed to find out, because I was moving on to get a bachelors in vocal performance in college.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! :) Lots of good memories there! :) totally had some similar experiences! --Waylon