I want to do whatever it is that makes me happy. Inspired. Loved. Appreciated. What would that be?
I am all about music of all shades these days. Just about anything steeped in heart and joy will bring me instantly to tears. I watched Kathleen Turner breaking down talented high school kids as part of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ YoungArts program Masterclass a few weeks ago and I was watching and yelling at it like bros watching a March Madness game at the bar, coaching right along with her and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t right with her in the advice and instruction she gave.
It inspired me. I’m nobody famous, but goddammit, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to performance. One of my best friend’s kid is in her second year as a ballet dancer at a fine arts boarding school hundreds of miles away. As her daughter has advanced in the arts, she turns to me more and more as an experienced voice on matters of the arts that escape her. She invited me to watch a stream of the school’s latest performance and as I watched intently, I saw exactly what her weaknesses were through a musical lens: she’s a beautiful dancer with the ability to make the most breathtaking lines and curves, but her corps work is, to put it bluntly, sloppy as hell. Her youth and a growth spurt (she’s nearly six feet tall in her pointe shoes) are working against her right now, but she’s lucky enough to a) know it and b) be in the right place to get the technique instruction she needs to understand how to become the ensemble instead of an individual member of a group.
I want to do this. I want to give what I know. I can help, I promise. I fly when those I teach and coach fly. I fly when they get something. When I challenge them to be part of a complex relationship with me that embodies both judgment and trust. It’s just another way for me to tell a story.
Perhaps this is also due in part to a run of success at my church gig. We gave a rare concert a few months ago and the solo and trio work I for which I was responsible was not, in my opinion, of my desired oeuvre. I’m a liricio spinto, Puccini/Verdi kind of girl and this was early 17th century Baroque/Renaissance polychoral stuff. But if the choirmaster had faith in me, then so be it. Once I stopped being terrified and became a part of it, the sounds that spun out of me from the loft felt like all kinds of magic. He is still uncharacteristically over the moon about that performance, to the point where he just dropped quartet work from Schütz on me for Easter. I’m still terrified, to the point where I asked him why me and not one of the other voices usually more appropriate for this style. Which gave him the opportunity to be effusive about the previous performance again. I think he has all kinds of new ideas for me. It’s as if after 6 or 7 years, he’s discovered a resource he didn’t know he had. And while this is a huge stylistic challenge for me at this late stage in my vocal development, I have the comfort of knowing that he believes in me.
The music realm of my life is more important to me that ever, because the little ball of fuckery that my day job has become constantly challenges my perceptions of my skills, experience, and talent. It is a complex web of politics and poor management to the point where the extremely talented tiny team of which I am a member is shrinking as fortunate folks find ways to successfully exit, stage left. My previously mentioned friend will be the first to make a permanent exit and I have feelers out to hopefully be the next who frees themselves from this Island of Misfit Toys. It’s like she opened a door we’ve all been pushing against and now we’re all actively and publicly (at least to each other) seeking different opportunities within the organization. We all wailed “TAKE US WITH YOU” right in front of her cube yesterday. The hardest part is we want to be together because we are a fantastic team. We even like hanging out with each other, as evidenced by our post-Christmas shindig that we were finally able to schedule for tonight. We’re all very different from one another demographically and in life experiences, but we mesh happily nonetheless.
I’m in some of the best shape I’ve been in my life since my high school jock days since I’ve been hitting the gym regularly for the past couple of years, I’m delighting in my weight training and boot camp work with my patient and talented trainer and although while I love what my arms have become, guns this size aren’t exactly amenable to everyday business wear! Note to self: need a gig where it won’t matter and folks won’t be taken aback by my athletic form. My final health challenge is to adjust my diet to the point where the cinnamon rolls ’round my middle take a hike.
I want. I long for all the parts of my life to yield joy.