Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh What a Beautiful Evening

Dateline, Virginia Beach.

Just past 8-ish last night, it was my turn on the mic. There was an audience for the recital of right around 175, and it was a friendly room. I was following a rendition of "I'll Never Smile Again," which was sung quite well. Before that, another singer had proven that, in fact, it is possible to make an entire room full of people bleed from the ears.

I was a little nervous, but not for the standard reasons. The performing for a crowd thing doesn't affect me the way it used to many years ago. What makes me nervous is when you introduce any amount of uncertainty into a performance. I'm big on rehearsals and getting things airtight before a performance. Well, this was far from airtight.

For starters, I hadn't performed this song with my voice teacher/accompanist in about three weeks. Sure, I had been rehearsing with a recording I made of his playing, but it's just not the same. Secondly, it was a venue I had never been to before. Third, and most distracting of all, thirty minutes before the show, I was told I'd be using a microphone. When you're used to moving around and expressing yourself with your hands during a performance, introducing a hand held microphone and cord into things is not productive.

All that aside, it went well.

I took the mic and stepped to center as Mr. Fox introduced me. I said, "Good evening. How's everybody doing tonight?" After a warm response, I continued, "I'll be singing 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning' from 'Oklahoma.'" Then, those familar opening notes floated out of Mr. Fox's piano, and I began to sing.

Immediately, there was a problem, because the song was being played slower than usual. Noticably slower. This caused me to slow my pace down and change pitch. Not good. I know that I'm supposed to sing at my own pace and let the accompanist catch up, but, well, I screwed up. Chalk it up to inexperience. By the time I had gotten to the first chorus, things smoothed out a bit.

I hit my notes, high and low, and made it through to the end. There were a couple of times I forgot to breathe, which has been my biggest hangup so far, but I was able to work through it. There was a nice round of applause, and I left the floor pleased.

After the show was over, I had a few final words with Mr. Fox and expressed my gratitude for his teaching. During that conversation, several people from the audience came up and gave me some really nice compliments. All in all, it was a great evening. Can't wait for the next one. According to Ms. Winter, that should be in June sometime. I bet it will be night and day different.

Here are some photos I was able to coerce a nice guy in the crowd to take.


  1. You can't post something like this and not at least post a snippet of the audio...

  2. Yes, I much prefer cordless over a cord. Sure, the batteries make it the grip a little thicker but it's just more to hold onto giving the shaft a much more substantial feel in my opinion and then you don't have a cord getting in the way of arms and legs. Much more conducive to hitting the highs and lows. Oh and yes, you've got to remember to breathe, no sense in passing out because you'll end up waking up with everyone gone and dead batteries in your hand.