Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, September 17, 2006

autobiography part deux

Okay, you have to know that I'm the only musical one in my family. Seriously. My dad played clarinet for a while and my older sister played it in middle school, but neither one of them took it really seriously. My mom did some shows in high school and danced, but she never took it seriously either. We're a big sports family. However, I can thank my dad for bringing me up on jazz-I lived off Bette Midler, Louis Armstrong, and Frank Sinatra through preschool. I even sang Bette Midler for my preschool talent show. Kind of ironic since she's an alto and I'm a soprano...
Anyway,my acting debut came in 2nd grade with a class play at Thanksgiving about some kids and a magical scarecrow; I was the scarecrow. But those ended with the progression to 3rd grade, so I started singing for my school's "church" choir. Okay it wasn't a choir; we had liturgical music class, and people had to volunteer to sing at Mass. That was as far as my singing career went for a few years. I learned the extreme basics of music in music class and actively sang in that and loved the class. I picked up handbell choir in 5th grade and really started to learn how to read music through that. Even though I had to give up my recess time nearly everyday to practice, I didn't care; I loved playing and learning the music. Finally the music department started an actual choir and I did that in 6th grade.Sadly, not everyone was interested in bettering their musical skills.
Thank the lord my mom found auditions for the St. Louis Symphony Children's Choir and talked me into trying out. I made it directly to the second level, Chorale. Pretty good for someone who never took singing seriously.I dropped chorus at school and dedicated my time to SLSCC. I LOVED it! My director was awesome and I was thrilled beyond belief to find so many other kids who actually WANTED to sing. Plus, I found people to compete with, and being a very, VERY, competitive person, that was pretty sweet. Back at school, the sixth grad play rolled around: Little Red Riding Hood. Being one of the only ones in my class who could actually sing, (that and being the shortest one) I got the title role. Even though the show itself was awful, I thrived being on the stage. Not so much with the acting, but the singing. I knew I wanted to perform.
My life pretty much changed in seventh grade. At the end of my first year with SLSCC, my director kept me behind after rehearsal one day and asked me to sight read a piece. So I did. Even though I had never done it before by myself like that, I somehow just knew how far up or down to go by looking at how far apart the notes were. He told me if I was willing to take a music reading class, I could move up to the next level choir since my voice was already there. (side note:SLSCC is REALLY big into being able to sight read music-even more than vocal ability alone) So my mom agreed to let me take the class and I got to progress. One of the best decisions of my life. Not only did I love learning how to sight read music on solfege and all that jazz, but it has helped me SO much I can't even begin to tell you. Then, the greatest thing ever happened: my choir and the level above me were chosen to participate in the National Children's Choir Festival that April. Okay, here's what that meant-SLSCC-NEW YORK CITY-CARNEGIE HALL. Carnegie Hall!!! In seventh grade! I couldn't believe it-my parents said I could go if I paid for half the trip. So I did everything I could to raise my half of the money. So in April 2001, under the direction of Henry Leck and Malcolm Daglish, I performed in Carnegie Hall. Words can't even describe what it felt like. Sure I had been performing in Powell Hall in St. Louis several times a year, but it has nothing on Carnegie. Sure the 11 1/2 hours of rehearsal in 2 days kinda sucked at the time, but looking back, it was all worth it. I loved rehearsing with choirs from all over the country. There's something about a huge group of people coming together with the same purpose-to make music.
When high school came around, I auditioned and made it to the highest level of SLSCC, but I couldn't do it because of softball. I loved singing, but sports have always been a huge part of my life and I'd dreamt of playing varsity softball, so I chose that. But I did have freshman chorus and music class where I learned the recorder and basic piano. Christmas time came around and I got a solo! I was the only one not taking voice lessons that landed one. I also managed to get one in the spring concert as well. That summer I was going to take violin lessons because I didn't have time for them in grade school with soccer and softball and basketball. And my music teacher told me I was really good with my hands and should consider playing an instrument like flute or violin. But I knew I wanted to audition for my school's chamber group that fall so I asked my teacher what a good song to prepare would be. He asked why I wasn't taking voice lessons. I said it was because I wanted to take violin. He talked me out of violin and into voice-I owe that man so much.
I made it into the St. Joseph Academy Frontenac Voices as a sophomore-a big deal at my school because the vocal program was such a big deal. We met an hour before school every day to practice and I loved every minute of it. The waking up at 5:45am to get there didn't bug me after a while. I was happy to get up and start my day with singing. I had found my place among the upperclassmen. I auditioned for All District choir and made that as well. It was my favorite thing to do-mostly because I got to sing with boys, which is a nice switch from all SSA pieces. I competed in Solo/Ensemble and got an Excellent II rating. But I wasn't happy with it. I wanted to be better. So I continued with Frontenacs and district choir and voice lessons. I was robbed of my Superior I rating Junior year, but I finally got it senior year. By that point, I was the Soprano section leader in both chorus and Frontenacs, one of the top singers in my school, and in the state of Missouri-I had made All State and received a Superior I rating at State Solo/Ensemble.
I realized singing is my passion. Whether it's cantoring at my church or singing in the shower, I can't live without it. So here I am, at DePauw University majoring in vocal performance. Quite a stretch for my family-my dad thought I'd be playing college softball at a school like UCLA. Every now and then I still feel out of place since sports have ruled the majority of my life and I really didn't get into the arts until a few years ago, but that just pushes me even farther to become a better singer and musician. After all, I like being different.

link to my old bloglink to first draft


At 9/17/2006 7:46 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

There is definetly more depth to your blog this time. It's cool to see someone passionate about anything at such an early hour.

At 9/17/2006 8:22 PM, Blogger Mistuh Bond said...

Hokay, so your Saint Louis youth choir deal was actually very similar to my Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra thing. All the youth symphonies before were filled with people who didn't give a crap about their instrument. Boom. That changed. As for the sports, I would have taken the more promising offer (choir) since it was the highest level you could go, apparently. And about being different, now that you've said that, you can't give me any more crap about me being different. So there.

At 9/17/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Kitt_Katt said...

Why don't you jion intermurals or something so you can still play but not use all of your time.

At 9/17/2006 11:44 PM, Blogger Ferdinand_The_Bull_Smells_Flowers said...

I like how it's so easy to read your autobiography- I can hear your voice practically.

I'm not sure if it's formal enough, with word usage like, "Okay, seriously." But I think that's okay--- it's nice to hear it in your voice.

At 9/17/2006 11:56 PM, Blogger Dennis Fuller said...

this revised blog shows a lot more depth and history. i think it is a big improvement


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