Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Mind Shift

There's an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in season five, episode 21 called "Weight of the World."  In that episode, Buffy explains that in one moment, she had made a huge realization about the battle about to come.  She knew that she was going to lose and she mentally gave up.  This mind shift comes to her while she was doing the mundane task of putting a book away on a shelf.  Do we have those moments?  Moments when we mentally just give up on something?  After those moments, most people just start "going through the motions" of life.  They aren't trying to get the most out of what they are experiencing.
When I lived up in the suburb.  I had met a guy who had just got back from a mission.  We had so much in common and there was chemistry.  This all happened a couple months before I transfer ed to Indiana.  I really liked him.  After the move, we still talked on the phone and emailed on a daily basis.  Out of nowhere, he starts sending me emails about not wanting to date someone that lived so far away.  The weired thing was, he never really said me, he just kept saying "someone."  Well, he and his friend came to visit me from the suburbs. We all had a great time and did some local things.  Before he left, he told me he liked me too.
The next week was rough.  It's the week my brother died.  I remember calling the guy and talking to him when I found out.  He seemed like he was pretending to listen to me, but disinterested at the same time.  I thought it was really strange.  Within a couple days after that, he sent me an email stating, he was actually dating someone else.  She was from Wisconsin, and they were getting more serious.  I was in shock!  I felt like he had been leading me on for over four months! I just emailed him back and said, "I'm done."  I never emailed or talked to him again after that. He emailed me the next month to tell me he and the girl were engaged.  I never responded.
After over a year of living in the new area and going to the singles branch, I had maybe been on a couple friendly dates.  Nothing serious.  There was a guy that seemed kind of interesting, and I called him and asked if he'd like to go to an event. He said he was out of town. He called me back in a few days and asked me to do something else.  We dated for about two months, and he never even tried to hold my hand!  On our first date, he made a very homophobic comment about how he liked Elton John until he came out as a "Flaming Homo!"  We were on another outing with a bunch of the YSAs when he saw two guys together, who he decided were gay. He started making comments to another guy in out group, "Bubba over there likes you!  Bubba wants you!" and some other very derogatory comments.  I only caught part of this, but enough to realize what he was doing.  The next week, out of nowhere, he asked me to go see the movie "I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry."  I was thinking, why the heck would he want to see this movie, especially after all of the comments he had made previously!  After the movie, I felt like this opened the door for me to say how inappropriate I felt it was to say things like that.  Well, some interesting things came out in the conversation.  The next week, he "broke up" with me by saying, "I was dating you just to date somebody."  And that was that.
That's when my mind shift began.  Why should I date within the "safe" confine of the church after the way I had been treated by the guys in previous relationships.  That's when I gave up on dating church members.
I did go out with one other guy after that. At the end of the night, he invited himself into my apartment, after I had already said, "Good night," and "Thank you!"  He just kept staying.  Then, out of nowhere he says, "Do you know what NCMO is?"  I say, um, no.  "It's a non-committal make out session!"  After about five minutes, I announced that I was turning into a pumpkin, and he had to leave!
That totally confirmed my decision that none of these men were who I want to spend "Time and All Eternity" with.  I had given up on meeting guys at church.  Where was I going to meet anyone if I didn't meet him there?  I didn't want to date a guy I met at a bar, aside from the fact that I don't drink.  I didn't plan on joining any sports clubs to meet people.  So where does someone like me meet people?
There's also the mind shift that can be positive and change a person's life for the better.  I've had a lot more of these mind shifts in my life then the negative kind. I had a mind shift in February last year, the month after my robbery.  I wanted to meet a companion.  My sister had recommended using plentyoffish.com numerous times to meet other people outside of my circle.  I set up an account and profile on there.  I just kept getting weirdos.  you know the ones who rote sentences like this hey you smile cute write me! (Yes, like that,  grammar spelling, and all!)  That's when you don't know if the person actually is uneducated or is just so lazy, he can't write a complete sentence.  On plentyoffish.com, I was getting weirder and ruder responses.  It's kind of funny, because plentyoffish.com is actually advertising in the "Hold it Against Me" Britney Spears video and Kesha's "We Are" video. 
I was eating dinner with a group of friends when they started talking about meeting people online.  One of my friends met her husband online through the yahoo dating site.  Another friend said that he was seeing someone he had met on OKcupid.com. I had never heard of that site before.  He explained it was a free site that actually does a lot of testing and matching.I decided to try OKcupid.com.  I had only been on there about a week when my current boyfriend contacted me.  He sent me an actual email with content and punctuation!  That was a total plus!  That was just over a year ago!
I'm not saying that all LDS men are terrible and not datable!  There are some that are very datable.  They just never seemed to ask me.  And like I said, I did go on a few friendly dates, and still are friends with those guys to this day.  It just seems, the guys that I found or found me relationship material, had a lot of issues!  I just knew after six or seven years of attending numerous young single adult functions and praying about it, I was not getting any where in my goals for my personal life.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Disasters and Personal Disasters

I'm sure we have all heard about the very large earth quakes and tsunami that have hit Japan last week. I started thinking about this and how this would effect so many lives.  It also got me thinking about things in my life that I would consider personal disasters.  What moment or moments in your life would you concider a personal disaster?  It could be something as major as a car accident all the way down to a small thought process.
I'll start with my "car accident."  Well, I've had a lot of litteral car accidents within a very short time period, but what I would call a definite personal disaster is the night I was robbed at gun point and tazered.  I had gone over to my friend, B's house to watch a show and do laundry.  When I came home, it was exactly midnight.  I had come home this late or later numerous times before and never had any problems.  I got home and parked my car next to my neighbor's truck. When I got out, I could hear two guys speaking spanish, which I do not speak.  I thought nothing of it.  Then, a guy walked out from behind my neighbor's truck holding a gun.  He started threatening me with very heavilly accented english to stop moving.  I had my purse on my arm and a large McDonald's cup in my hand. He yelled at me to drop the cup and give him the purse, which I did.  Then, someone came up from behind me and wrapped his arm around my throat and stuck a tazer in my side.  I jumped from the tazer, thinking "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!"  This person was more violent and started threatening that if I didn't give him the money, he was going to kill me, aslo in a very heavy accent.  I said, if I had any money, it would be in the purse.  Then, they told me to shutup.  They took my keys and started diggin through my coat pockets, which is where I had my cell phone. They took the cell phone.  Then, the first guy started to climp through my car looking for something.  The other guy blurted something out in spanish.  Maybe he got spooked.  They instructed me to get back into the car.  The first guy said that I had to tell him my pin number or he would kill me.  I lied.  Then, he said, if I was lying, he would come back and kill me.  They shut me in my car.  They drove off in their van.  I had no keys.  I had no phone.  I had nothing. 
I imediately ran into my building and started pounding on my neighbor's door.  She was a little freaked before she realized it was me.  She called the policee for me.  A police officer was there in minutes.  He took my statement and gave me a case number/card.  He said they had actually already pulled over a van in the area matching my sketchy discription.  It wasn't the right van.  While the cop was still there, we went and woke up another neighbor, whom I've known since the day I had moved in.  She was in shock.  
My neighbor had called the emergency maintnance line to get me a key to get into my apartment.  I started thinking about it and realized, I had an extra apartment key in my car.  My neighbor that I had lived by for a long time, gave me a cell phone she had minutes on to use to get ahold of... somebody.  
After I got into my apartment, I was in shock.  I started searching for phone numbers, I couldn't remember any for the life of me.  I found one friend's guest list from a lia Sophia show I had done for her.  I called her. I get her voicemail.  By now, it's after 1:00am. She's probably asleep.  I start searching for more numbers.  I found my boss's number and reached him.  I just tell him I would miss work the next day and why and hung up.  I finally find an extremely old phone bill that has my parents' phone number on it.  I call and my mom answers.  I inform her to what happened.  I get my sister's cell number from her.  I call my sister a couple times before she answers.  She decides she will drive the one and a half hour drive and pick me up.  I pack and pack up my kitty and wait.
This was my life changing personal disaster.  I have always been a confident single woman with hardly any fears.  I was so trusting in the world.  I had lived in my apartment for over four years.  I had experienced one burglary before during the day.  My door was kicked in and only my purse was stolen.  The rest of my apartment was trashed because the burglars were looking for jewelry or money, which I have none of.  I survived that with only a little bit of mental and emotional damage, but it wasn't enough to make me move out of the apartments.  My neighbor across the hall from me was totally wipe out of most of her possessions.  I just lost a purse with maybe ten dollars in it and all of my ID's and credit cards.  I had gotten over the burglary. 
I worked multiple jobs at the time, two of which required me to come home at all different hours of the night.  I had never feared coming home late at night before.  I had never feared a specific race before.  I was always very open minded about everything.  When two hispanic men, whom I could not see their faces because of they were wearing bandanas over them, attacked me, I made me fear hispanic men of their shape and size.  In fact, just recently, two hispance men walked into the store.  I welcomed them as I always welcome ever customer.  One was about the shape and size of one of my attackers.  He gave me an odd look.  I almost ran to the back of the store and hid in the break room!  After the thought crossed my mind, I reminded myself how ridculous that would be, and kept sitting where I was.  
I know these thoughts are ridiculous.  I'm sure someone else whose been through an attack of any kind would have the same kind of thoughts.  I have since moved to a whole new apartment complex.  Recently, we've been told to be careful due to burglaries that have happened during the daytime.  That is how the whole thing started in the old apartment complex.  I still have nights when I get home after dark, and I can't get out of my car.  I have to call my boyfriend to come out and walk my in.  I have nights when I have to force myself out of my car.  Every car in the neighborhood is suspicious, because I don't recognize them all yet.  I also know that I can't live my life in fear of a specific gender of a race.  The two or three men involved, I think there was a driver also, have still not been caught, as far as I know.  They have hit other apartment complexes in the area.  They could still attack someone my current apartment complex, which is only a few miles away from my old one. 
I just have to continue living.  Everyone has these life changing disasters.  The question is, how does one let it effect and affect his or her life?  I'm thankful for my sister that picked me up at 3:30 in the morning.  I spent a couple weeks on B's couch.  I'm really thankful that he and his roomate let me stay for that long.  After that, I tried to move and and move back home.  Since it was the middle of January, it was hard to go back even during the day time to pack clothes and to check on the kitty.  It made me so nervous.  After a while, the nervousness started to get better.  I also met my boyfriend, which has helped me out a lot.
This is my disaster.  I feel really sad for the people in Japan who have been dealing with the disasters since Friday, and that their disaster just continues with the over heating of the nuclear power plants.  I also feel sorry for the people and children of Haiti who are still suffering from the earthquakes that happened on January 13th last year.  Since this happened the same night as my robbery, it took me a while to realize how catastrophic the situation in Haiti was and is.
You can text JAPAN to 20222 to donate $10 to the Redcross.  Respond yes to the next text to confirm.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How do we meet real friends? The Early Years

Where did you meet your closest friends?  Did you meet them in High School, College, Church, a bar, a social club like the Y?  How did they become your closest friends?  What made you say, "I want to hang out with this person?" 
I can remember in Elementary school having a best friend.  We met when I was four, and we lived in the same neighborhood.  The only year we were in the same class together was third grade.  Our relationship hit some rough patches that year, but we still continued on being friends.  Then, in the fifth grade, my family moved across town, or to the next town I guess.  It became harder to see each other.  Our parents did drive us back and forth some, but a lot of our contact was over the phone.  We would spend hours over the phone talking to each other... or watching tv together in silence.  In that year, I started having a really hard time with friendships in school.  I started developing and was made fun of constantly for it.  But I survived. I had also made a friend in the apartment complex that was a couple years younger than me. She liked to dance, so, I would get my little boom box out and set it on the step, and we would make up dances. After a year in those apartments, we moved again, but we were in the same city.  Nine weeks after the school year started, when I was in sixth grade, we moved again.  That time, I changed schools.  That year, I was probably the most depressed I had ever been.  On top of that, I was probably getting sicker with my health issues and nobody realized it.    
In those apartments, there were a bunch of kids. Now, my father had lost his job at the time, so, these apartments were based upon income.  A lot of these kids had broken homes with parents that had minimal to no education.  It also seemed that they had no discipline in the home.  Therefore, they thought that it was ok to treat other people with disrespect.  The worse part about living in these apartments and dealing with these kids was getting on the bus every morning.  That was enough to make me not want to go to school.  The bus driver had no control over the sitation what so ever.  I was constantly teased and made fun of.  After a while, a few self preservation things kicked in.  At first, I would try to use a Walkman and wear headphones on the bus to ignore every one around me.  But that stopped working when a kid decided the next thing to do was to start pulling on my head phones and break them.  I remember his name was Elmer.  He constantly picked on me and tortured me.  After the head phone situation, I got off the buss and came home bawling.  After that, my dad started walking me to the bus stop, which didn't really help the situation, because all of the bad stuff happened on the bus. So, my next act of self preservation was, not going to school.  I started missing at least one day a week of school.  This was getting to the point where teachers would say, "She's not here, must be Tuesday!"  I finally decided I would start going to school more consistantly when I got an ear infection.  Well, my parents decided I shouldn't go to school with an ear infection and didn't wake me up in the morning.  They called my in sick.  That day, the principal called and talked to my father.  I have no idea what the conversation was, but I'm pretty sure it was about my absences. 
This is the first school I experienced what being "Popular" and "Unpopular" really meant.  I did finally meet a real friend at this school.  She would invite me over to hang out at her house after school and for sleepovers on the weekends. We would talk about things like, how does the "Popular" girl never where the same outfit twice?!  She seriously never did!  We also both enjoyed music and were in choir together.  I sadly had lost touch with her soon after sixth grade when I moved back to the school I started middle school in. 
I had tried to keep a few friends that I had met while I was going to school at the first middle school.  One girl, whom I had known since fifth grade, still invited me to do things all the way through sixth grade.  So, when I moved back to the school, I thought I would be able to hang out with her.  I sat with her at her lunch table the first week, and learned some interesting things.  She had a table hierarchy.  It sounds crazy, but only certain people could sit right next to her.  We had classes together where, we would sit next to each other.  Then, she started some minor teasing.  I would just blow it off.  She's my friend.  She doesn't mean any harm.  I started making friends with other people in her circle, the ones I had things in common. I stayed friends with her until close to the end of eighth grade and middle school.  By the end of the eighth grade, I realized that friendship had run it's course, and we were becoming two completely different individuals.
My freshman year of high school was like starting over completely with all of my relationships.  You get to high school and you have all sorts of decisions that have to be made.  What kinds of classes will you take?  What kinds of clubs do you join?   Will you participate in any sports?  When I was a freshman, I wanted to do it all!  I was in freshman choir.  I was on dance team.  I was in Orchestra.  I was in drama club.   I went to early morning seminary.  I was active in the church youth group.  I went with my elementary school best friend to her church group.  I was in gymnastics.  I'm sure there was more that I participated in, but this gives you the idea of how busy I made my life. Within this time, I had kept a couple friends from middle school and still hung out with my best friend from elementary school.
As a freshman, my friend that I had kept from middle school was in marching band.  Now, marching band season is insanely busy, which is the first two or three months of the school year.  I felt like I didn't get to see her very often.  They actually went to state contest that year and did pretty well!  So, I started over with making new friends. I met some people in the drama deparment.  I started hanging out with them on a regular basis.
During my sophomore year, I got a job at a local pizza restaruant where my best friend from elementary school worked. I worked there all the way through high school.  Her mother and boyfriend worked there also.  During my sophomore year, I hung out with the elementary school best friend and the drama friends I had met the year before.  I still hung out with the marching band friend also.  We had a pretty good circle of friends that year.  Towards the end of the year, I met a guy that I ended up dating until I graduated from high school and through the summer right before college.  
I still talk to a lot of the closer high school friends to this day. 
Making friends in college is a whole different story. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Audition Game

Here's another one of my secrets: I suck at auditioning.  I'm being completely honest.  I used to audition for things all the time in college.  I would show up for every musical with a song ready to sing, and then not get picked.  In fact, for most of the musicals in college, theater majors were picked.  That's because the theater department ran most of the musicals on campus.  I never auditioned in high school for the musicals because I was involved in the Theater Department.  The theater department and vocal department were two serperate things in high school.  It was the same in college, except the theater department controlled all of the musicals.
I remember auditioning for a part in a church musical when I was about twelve, maybe a little older.  They had held two weekends of auditions.  I went on the second weekend.  Well, my audition was interrupted by call backs!  I'm serious. People were showing up for call backs before the first set of auditions were even completed. I was pretty upset by this.  I think my mother complained about it to the director, and he just told her, "We had to change our schedule!"  Then, about a month later, so many people had quit, they called and asked me to be in the chorus.  Their way to entice me was, "You'll get a free dress made for you!"  Really?! I politely turned them down! 
In college, I would get so nervous, show up with my prepared 16-20 measures, sing my song, read my lines, and then feel completely horrible afterwards.  I wouldn't even get called back most of the time.  I would see all of the theater majors, the ones that didn't even really sing, get called back and then get the parts.  I love musical theater. I have always loved it, yet, I haven't really done much of it in my life.  I mean, a little part here and there, but that's it. 
I finally made it into the chorus of the "Mikado" which was actually done by the vocal department.  Most of the female lead rolls went to Theater majors again.  Most of the chorus was vocal majors.  The men were mostly vocal majors, except they had a few from the theater department. I really enjoyed performing in this light opera. We also performed this in full kabuki make-up.  I now see that as kind of wierd. I kind of remember a guy who started our as our director, who had made the decission about the make-up. He then dissappeared and wasn't our director anymore.  Then, a person from the vocal department and a person from the music department took over directing.  This part is a bit of a blur in my mind. 
After the "Mikado," I kept myself busy with other things.  Since I was a member of the school's Music Industry Association and Sigma Alpha Iota, I found a lot of other things to do.  One of the biggest things was MIA held a Battle of the Bands every semester.  I worked my way up that ladder with being the band liason  at first.  Then, after a few semesters of that, I was in charge of the whole event.  I learned a lot more working with the Battle of the Bands events then I probably would have doing roles in musicals.
When I moved back to Indianapolis I met back up with some friends that I knew from college.  They were all doing community theater shows around the area.  So, I thought I would start auditioning for things again.  My first local auditioning experience was with a theater on the south east side.  The director kept telling me, "Come on out! Audtion for my show!"  I went out and bought the CD for the show so I would know what the music sounded like and what type of show it was.  It was type of show that was slit your wrist depressing.  I got there.  I was prepared.  I had rehearsed my 20 measures of song repeatedly until I thought it was close to perfect.  Well, about 100 other people were there auditioning.  I was a bit dumbfounded.  On top of that, we had to audition in front of everybody and wait for every body else to sing before we could read the lines.  And that was the first night of auditions.  Well, that's about five hours of my life I will never get back.  Obviously, I didn't get any role.  Afterward, the director's friend just kept telling me, "Sometimes, everybody just wants to do the same  show!"
The next audition I did was for "Little Shop of Horrors" at Civic theater on the west side of town.  I just auditioned because my friends encouraged me to.  I came with "Part of Your World"  all ready to go.  Well, there weren't that many female roles, so, I wasn't expecting to get a part and I didn't. 
A little later that year I auditioned for the "Wizard of Oz."  Now, I did this on the eve of my 30th birthday.  I walk in, get my number and picture taken.  I couldn't think of what to sing, so, I just took the LDS children's hymnal with me.  I would just sing part of "A Child's Prayer." Well, while I was sitting in the wings with other people, the audition monitor was chatting us all up.  She comes to me and says, "What part are you auditioning for?"  I told her, "I would love to be Glenda, but I'm here to audition for the chorus."  She then proceeds to tell me that I look like I would be the perfect Auntie Em.  That I have the face for that role... Now, being that I wasn't even thirty yet, I looked at her in disbelief and said, "I turn 30 tomorrow!"  She tried to apologize, but it wasn't believable.  I was just in shock!  Most people tell me, I look like I'm a teenager!   She tried to explain to me that I had the "type of face" that it would be easy to make up as an older person.  Insert foot in her mouth.
After that, I moved on to another theater, Footlite.  All of my theater friends were auditioning for "Miss Saigon."  I really like this show.  They all went to the first audition, which was on a Sunday afternoon while I was in church.  I went to the Monday night audition.   We were all ushered in to fill out forms, get our picture taken, and get a number.  Then, we were sent downstairs.  First, we were all held in this little dressing room. Then, we were called out one by one to audition.  I went in to the room were the panel sat.  I waved at someone I knew, which I guess could be seen as unprofessional, but it's community theater.  Then, I started to sing my song.  Well, to my surprise, the piano was downtuned at least two keys, and maybe almost three keys flat!  Well, again, I had taken "Part of Your World."  I didn't expect to have to sing it in bass range.  On top of that, the accompanist was an awful sight reader!  It was pretty awful!  I then learned all of the people that auditioned on Sunday got to audition on the main stage with a piano that was actually close to in tune.  They also had call backs then and there.  I also learned that a friend that hadn't even auditioned got called in because, "Not enough high sopranos had auditioned."  Well, I would have sounded more like a Soprano if the piano hadn't sucked!
After that, I haven't really auditioned for anything.  That's one of the reasons I started my own group.  I'm sick of the local politics.  I promise to give every one a fair chance in my show choir!  If somebody loves to sing and perform, I want them to come join us!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Show Choir: The Later Years

I started working for my company with an internship in 2004.  My company is a very large national/international sheet music company.  They've been around since 1876.  My company also supports a very large show choir camp that happens twice every summer.  That's kind of when the love of show choir started all over for me.  My suburbs boss asked me if I would be interested in going even though, the Indiana branch takes care of the whole thing. I said, yes! 
My first time going, I was in awe.  Why didn't I get involved in something like this in High School?  I went to dance camp every year for dance team.  Why didn't I know about show choir camp?  Of course, I would have had to earn the money to go on my own, which is what I did to make money for dance camp. 
I didn't go until mid-week.  There's a concert every night at camp.  That year was an anniversary.  All of the performers in the Wednesday night concert were composers, arrangers, singers, dancers, basically professionals.  The week went on.  It was a lot of fun.
I've gone with my company to Camp every year since then, except one year when I only went for a day of set up.  That was sad... and kind of a waste of my time. 
When I moved to Indianapolis, I reconnected with a friend from high school that loves show choir.  When show choir season started, he called me and asked me to meet him out at the Ben Davis Invitational.  I was mesmerized by how far show choir had come along in 6 or 7 years.  That was in 2006, and we haven't missed a Ben Davis Invitational since.  Well, D. created a monster, I not only went with him on the Saturdays he could go, but I started attending the invitationals by myself.  One, I had gone to every year by myself until this year, I missed it because I was exhausted. 
Every invitational D. and I would go to, we would talk about starting our own group of Adults who love to dance and sing.  One summer, we had gone to lunch together and were talking about creating our own group again.  That day, we sat down, named our group and created an email address.  Well, then, we had to cover the next hurdle.  Where do we rehearse?  Where is there a space we could use that has a piano and a place to dance. 
The answer came from a dinner out with some friends.  We were enjoying our pizza when my friend, B. brought up with all of these musical theater people, I was trying to start a show choir.  I mentioned, yes, but we had no place to rehearse.  Another friend mentioned, we might be able to use his church.  He is the pastor, and he would just have to check the schedule with his secretary.  I told him, that would be awesome!!! 
We started rehearsing at that friend's church in January.  We had about 20 people show up for that first night just to see what we were.  We had some problems in the beginning getting consistant attendees.  In fact, we went until about May, then, we decided to take a break for Summer.  Then, we posted flyers all over the place and got a few new people to show up for Auditions.  After the auditions, we decided to regroup to get more people.  We had a few more weeks of people coming once and then, not coming back again.  Then, D. started having some family issues and had to stop coming.  All the sudden, I had a consitant core group.  We made it!  We did a little Christmas show.  It worked out!  I started, directed, and choreographed a little Show Choir! 
We are still meeting once a week and getting prepared for our Spring Show! 
I get to continue my little obsession with show choir, for now!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Stage Fright Sets In

Acording to Wikipedia.com:
Stage Fright or performance anxiety is the anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, whether actually or potentially (for example, when performing before a camera). In the context of public speaking, this fear is termed glossophobia, one of the most common of phobias. Such anxiety may precede or accompany participation in any activity involving public self-presentation. In some cases stage fright may be a part of a larger pattern of social phobia or social anxiety disorder, but many people experience stage fright without any wider problems. Quite often, stage fright arises in a mere anticipation of a performance, often a long time ahead. It has numerous manifestations: fluttering or pounding heart, tremor in the hands and legs, diarrhea, facial nerve tics, dry mouth, erectile dysfunction.
(Information gotten from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_Fright )

Acording to Webster.com:

stage fright
noun Definition of STAGE FRIGHT: nervousness felt at appearing before an audience

When I was younger, even up to my teen years, I didn't have many major issues with stage fright. In fact, standing in front of people and singing was something I loved to do!  Even my first couple years of college,  I managed with out any major stage fright issues.  Now, you might say, "Everyone gets a little bit of stage fright!"  And maybe they do.  Mine has turned into some major issues!
It all started in college.  I remember towards the end of my freshman year, I had to sing in a studio recital.  Now, a studio recital is when each person that is a student under a certain professor prepares a piece and sings it in front of his/her peers and other people.  I was going to sing the classic Italian aria "Caro Mio Ben."  I had  practiced this piece non-stop.  I had also heard numerous other students perform it and practically had it memorized before I even started to learn it.  So, I was well rehearsed.  I started getting all of the symptons of stage fright.  I had dry mouth to the point that I couldn't swallow.  I couldn't get my dress to look right no matter what I did, so, I kept figitting with it.  My stomach had butterflies, millions of them, flying around, trying to get my attention.
I had gotten nervous before, but this was real stage fright!  The semester before, I survived my vocal juries by learning and memorizing all of my pieces two weeks before.  That really pissed my voice professor off!  I hardly had any nerves at all from that.  But now that I was picking my own pieces, my nerves were out of control. 
The stage fright issues just got continually worse from there.  No matter how much I practiced and rehearsed a piece, I would freak out when it came to performing it. I remember getting ready to sing Carmen's "Habenera" and not being able to memorize it! I was almost in tears before my jury.  Then, it didn't get picked anyway! 
I survived a Junior and a Senior recital with out dying from stage fright.  After college, most of my singing performances were of the karaoke type.  One time, my company was having Mark Hayes as a clinician.  He had just put out a couple vocal books.  One was a Christmas book, one was a contemporary hymn settings,  and one was a book of older hymns and spirituals.  Well, I was asked to sing a couple pieces.  One had to be from the New Contemporary Hymns and one from the Christmas book.  I chose "O' Holy Night"  and "Silent Night" from the Christmas book, and from the other book, I can't even remember what title I chose.  Well, I survived both Christmas pieces in my rehearsal with Mark.  Those were carols I had been singing my entire life!  When it came to the new contemporary hymn, I could barely get through it!  I had rehearsed it on my own for weeks, yet, I couldn't sing it for the composer/arranger!  I was getting upset, and I think he could tell.  He decided that we would just do the Christmas carols, and we would skip the new contemporary hymn.  I felt like a failure.  I don't know why I was having so many problems!  I even had the books in front of me on a music stand! 
The stage fright just grew from there!  I even get nervous at karaoke, especially if I'm not comfortable with the crowd.  I love to karaoke, but sometimes I put that first song in and sit and shake.  I like to go to karaoke places where I know the people and feel comfortable singing in front of them.  The less people, the better! 
I still sing in churches.  My sorority volunteers for a church service at a nursing home.  February was my month to provide the music.  I started getting nervous the night before.  I took a Mark Hayes song, "There is a Balm in Gallead."  I also took, "He Sent His Son" from the LDS children's Hymnal.  I had picked the two songs out a couple days before.  I knew the LDS song in and out.  The Mark Hayes arrangement, I had just learned a couple days before.  Well, I went in a rehearsed with the accompanist an hour before the service.  He is AMAZING! We sang through them.  I survived "There is a Balm in Gillead."  I started getting nervous in the rehearsal when we started singing "He Sent His Son." It went a little bit too fast. I told the accompanist, and he agreed to slow it down.  That way, I could get the words out.  The nervousness started to get worse.  The service started, and I sang the Mark Hayes piece.  It went just fine.  I sat down and listened to the sermon.  I stopped thinking about singing and really listened.  Then, it felt like, all the sudden, it was time to sing again.  I got up to sing again.  I started shaking and my mouth dried up.  I sang the piece shakey and what Randy and Paula would say, it was "pitchy!"  Why was I so nervous all the sudden?  This is a piece of music I've sang for years!
Even though I wasn't extremely happy with the performance, I got a lot of compliments.  I aslo was complimented on song choice, and how they happened to match the Reverend's topic of his sermon.
The world didn't end though.  How do I start managing my nerves?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Show Choir vs. College

I moved on to college to study music.  Here's my secret, well, maybe only a secret to a couple people.  I only auditioned for one college.  I only applied to one college.  I got into that one college for music.  I also received a scholarship to attend that college through my high school in education.  I went for a double major in Music Education/ Vocal Performance when I started. Now, most kids audition a few different places before they make a decision. I, on the other hand, had already made my decision.  Why audition a bunch of different places, when I had already chosen the one I would attend? I look back now and think, that was probably a bit risky.
When I got to the college, there wasn't a show choir. In fact, there wasn't even a thought of a show choir.  I had a friend that really enjoyed dancing and singing and inquired within the department why there wasn't a show choir.  She was told, there wasn't enough interest. She replied, there was enough interest.  So, a certain director told her to go and find out how many people were interested, and then, he would decide if there was going to be a show choir.  So, my friend JS did. JS asked everyone she knew in the music department who sang if they would be interested in a show choir.  She received a resounding yes.  She turned it into a petition and turned it into the director. 
Lo and behold, the next school year, there were auditions for a mixed show choir.  So, of course, we all auditioned for it!  Well, I didn't get in.  In fact, JS, the one who had done ALL of the research of whether or not there was interest for a show choir at the University, didn't get in it.  And that's when all of the choral selection drama started.  Why would the director insist that she should do all the leg work for him, and then, not put her in the choir?!  We were all shocked! 
That choir lasted as a mixed show choir for maybe a school year.  Then, all of the sudden, it was a womens choir.  I auditioned for choirs the next year and was put in that choir.  The thing about this womens choir was, it wasn't just show choir, it had concert choir music mixed in too.  It turned into a very strange combination of literature. 
I continued on in this choir.  The director was really nice and fun to work with.  We did our combination of literature and survived the year.  I was in the choir for a second year.  By the second year, the womens choir dropped the show choir aspect and became completely concert choir oriented.  I continued on in this choir for a while. 
I auditioned again the next year, and I had made that choir again.  The director told me she wanted me to continue on in the choir because I was a strong alto anchor.  She had the feeling that I was going to quit.  I can't remember how many years I stayed in that choir, but I only remember dancing for one sememster.  After that, there wasn't a show choir at my college any more.  One of the strangest things about that was, the college held a huge show choir camp every summer! 
I feel that, this made the college look very hypocritical.  Why hold a huge show choir camp every year, a camp I'm sure was used to generate advertising for the university, if there wasn't even a show choir to get into!? 
There was also a madrigal singers choir.  It was a very selective choir.  Ever year this choir had a huge madrigal dinner around Christmas.  I auditioned every year for that choir and still never got into it.  There were rumors one year that, the director wanted me in that choir, but the director that was the head of the choral department, the one that made JS do all of the leg work for the show choir,  didn't want me to be in it for some reason.  I didn't realize that I was worth fighting over. 
By my third senior year, remember, I had a lot of them, I auditioned for choirs.  There was a new head of the choral department who had already been working at the school for a year.  I had already been in his top concert choir with him for a year.  In fact, I had been in that choir since my first year at the college.  I was planning on doing my internship the second semester, so, I was only going to be in the choir first semester.  Well, he wasn't letting people he knew where graduating/ leaving mid-year be in the choir first semester. There were taking a big trip second semester, and he wanted everyone to be in first semester that were going on the trip second semester.  I knew that there were other people in the choir that were leaving second semester.  Were they just special, or were they lying? 
Said Director stuck me in the community choir.  I didn't want to be in the community choir, so, I turned around and joined Steel Drum.  My only requirement was, I had to be in a music ensemble every semester I was in school.  I learned that Steel Drum counted when my friend JS didn't make the concert choir a couple years before.  Steel Drum was a lot of fun and a huge learning experience.
Said director didn't realize I wasn't even attending his choir. About a month into the school year, he came up to me and said, "I'm so glad I get to see you on Monday nights!"  I just looked at him in disbelief and said, "Uhuh, ya... whatever."  It took him a while to realize, I wasn't even in the choir! 
Why must politics be involved when it comes to singing and being in a group?  Why can't it be the one who has the best voice and the best attitude?  I still think about these things to this day!