A few weeks ago Beth approached our choir director about doing a small act for the concert. (Might as well invite family for a reason, right?) Not only did he want us to perform it – he hoped, in the event that we were selected from auditions – that we could build it in to a larger ensemble. We heeded the feedback on our song as his blessing.
I spent some time tracking down the sheet music and researching renditions, made sure the pianist would have what she needed and penciled in the layout for an even vocal duet. The concept made me nervous though, because it wasn’t a big band number… the song was simple, sweet and a bit forlorn. I knew it might not fit in with a joyful theme.
We happened to notice that Nemmy Nemz had penciled herself in for a solo on the clipboard being passed around… “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and I could already imagine the three and a half minutes of self-celebration as she absorbed the spotlight. The chorus was used to this.
“She has kind of been the star,” I heard someone say.
Fair enough. Beth and I auditioned our song and kept our fingers crossed. While we waited for the results we went over and over again, anything else we could have done. You know, like pick something fast, practice together, stuff like that… we had literally sang it for the first time during auditions and agonized over if the director would realize that we were waiting to breathe the actual “life” in to it.
“Why work on it if he’s not gonna pick us?” Beth reasoned. Meanwhile I was freaking out that you don’t BRING unpolished selections to the director. I wish I had Beth’s chill factor.
When he announced the acts that made it, I was trying to seem distracted. I grabbed something out of my recruit’s hand and pretended to read it like I wasn’t listening. Recruit, by the way, is growing on me. She packs a powerful unbridled sound and, strategically placed directly behind Nemz in its unbridled form, occasionally throws off the self-appointed star of the show. I don’t think she can stand my girl’s tone to be honest, and I have to slap her myself on occasion but I can see past the unrefinement and have big plans for little Recruit…
“13 different acts big and small came out for the auditions and I’ve chosen 6.”
My mom was even waiting to see if I had snagged an extra song. How would I tell her that the thing super easy in life to do, I couldn’t even get right.
He started rattling off other people’s names, their real names, and they sounded foreign, the farthest thing from our little song. We had tried. You just can’t have everything and it would all be over in a second-
“…Beth and Autumn May”. I’ll never know what it looked like, only how it sounded as my eyes were down.
Oh MAN! WE’RE IN. I texted my mom. Now she could think the whole thing was silly BUT appropriately designated at least.
He moved on to the chorus song solos, and my Little Recruit landed the big fat role in our delightfully cheesy country western number! I scratched the top of her head and gave her a huge smile. That was MY GIRL.
“Woof. Thanks!” she said.
What a cool buzz to have at the end of rehearsal. I still had to stay behind with Recruit and Nemz for Perfect Blend practice but I was happy, the late night was okay in light of events.
“Hey did that one girl get her solo?” I asked Recruit. Recruit was clueless, too innocent to even wonder.
Beth got our time slot for Small Acts and headed out with most everyone else… during which time she must have been witness to some drama.
Probably at about the same moment I looked around and realized that Nemz wasn’t at Perfect Blend.
Beth texted me: Things just went down with your rival. She stormed out and said she was done.
In that moment I felt the shift, the position, the unimaginable manage. And with it a loss, for I was the newest person concerned with their stage time. I was already feeling less guilty about charging for tickets.
“It might just be us 2 Sopranos now so stay strong,” I quietly warned.
“Me? I sing with Nancy for these. You’re the one singing alone.”
So this is what it looks like.
Considering the forces of nature I’ve just disturbed,
It had better sound good.