Back Behind The Mike (instead of in the shower)
It was an amazing thrill to sing into a microphone again. It has been almost 4 decades since I did it last. OMG! How did I get so old?
What did I study in college? I was a business major, but my passion, purpose and majority of my time was spent singing and dancing on stage. How I got selected for this elite on-campus group still boggles my mind. This little girl with a soft, but very on key voice, stood up in front of a critical audience and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. My favorite song for life, but really really hard to sing!
Somehow, more than my voice, they liked my smile and my giggle when I made a mistake and after waiting a week for the results, they said: “You’re in. We can teach you how to sing better, but you can’t teach someone natural stage presence!”
Wow! Didn’t know I had it, and wasn’t sure what that was, but boy was I glad to be in this group. Think American Idol long long LONG before it existed. We had a 12 piece band, 12 vocalists, set designers, costume makers and I learned basic dance steps and microphone techniques that were a dream come true.
Granted, the tennis team that I was supposed to try out for wasn’t thrilled that singing was going to be my extracurricular of choice, but I knew I would be able to play tennis the rest of my life. But sing on stage? Just had to do it. And it was amazing. I was surrounded by the most talented singers and musicians. None of us could really dance, but hip hop hadn’t started yet. So we tapped our feet and marched in formation, swayed and pretended like we could. We traveled, performed and my family would come in every year for the big show.
Many of these wonderful performers went on to make careers in music and musical theater. Alan played lead roles in Sunset Boulevard and Mama Mia among many other shows; Olga has been in Evita, In The Heights, Les Miz, Mama Mia and so many more. Judy, Bruce, and so many others have been behind the mike for years and years in clubs, hotels and more. Talent surrounded me!
But as I am about to enter the 6th decade of life, I think I’m getting younger!! Or at least in my mind I am (definitely not in the mirror). Yes, I still must work to earn the living that allows me to live under a roof rather than a tent. But when I’m not working, I really get to play again. Tennis, singing, dance lessons, traveling, how lucky can I be.
I think there is magic in learning to do a lot of things when you are a kid. And I certainly did. I was in all the clubs, played tennis my whole life and every day was like being at summer camp. An attitude of participation was my whole life. I wanted to be in it. Low ego needs — didn’t have to be the best. But definitely wanted to partake. I worked hard to teach my kids this as well. The result is not surprising.
I was never the best at ANYTHING!! But boy did I have stage presence.