A too-lengthy brief history of me and music

March 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Saw Camas High School’s production of “Into the Woods” for the second time today at their matinee–they did a pretty good job. That wasn’t too surprising, they did a solid job last weekend when I saw it as well. It made me realize that I need some more Sondheim in my life, and since tonight is devoid of any social plans I am drinking some beers and listening to Sweeney Todd. I’ve mentioned it before, but being home is a difficult transition sometimes for an extrovert. That’s not what I’m thinking about tonight, though.

Being in that theater brought back a lot of great memories. It made me realize just how much I miss musical theatre. A quick Google search revealed that there are auditions for Les Miserables in Vancouver in June…maybe I should think about preparing something. It’s always a little daunting when you have no idea what the organization is like, but the worst that can happen is I don’t get cast getting cast and things are poorly run. An opportunity to live and learn. There are absolutely no details, but it’s something to keep an eye on in the next couple months.

Singing (by itself) is one thing, and I absolutely love choral works. Musical theatre, though–it feels like the only way I can really act. By that I mean that I can be OK on stage in a stage show, I can put in the work and create something that stretches me and that I can feel proud of, but only when I am singing can I get rid of myself and just channel the moment. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never done any acting, but there can be moments of realness, magical realness, if you let yourself feel them. Maybe it’s just my lack of training, but the walls seem to only melt away fully when I express via song. Is that crazy? I don’t know. I think we all have different triggers. After being around actors for so long I would think that I would have come to a more concrete conclusion.

I think what struck me most about being back in that particular theatre is how many memories I have of doing shows in Camas. I remember the moment I knew I would be on stage a lot for the rest of my life vividly. When I was at Skyridge in 7th grade, I was randomly placed in an elective class, “Drama.” I remember very little about the class, frankly, but I do remember having to read 12th Night as a class. I don’t remember what character I was assigned, who else was reading, or anything except how I felt when I was reading these lines. I felt so alive, it was amazing. I never wanted to let go of that feeling.

So I went out for two shows that year, and had a great time while understanding even then that they weren’t very good. Then the drama teacher left our middle school, and our choir teacher Mrs. Hamlin ended up taking over. I didn’t take any drama classes in 8th grade–in retrospect I’m not really sure why that was. I remember spending a lot of time working on the yearbook, so perhaps that was it. In any case it was announced that we were doing The Music Man that spring. I wasn’t going to audition–I didn’t sing, except maybe along with the radio sometimes. Not my thing. For some reason, though, I decided to audition the day of. Got in the show, loved it, and found a) a lifelong passion and b) a whole bunch of wonderful friends. Sometimes I think about how I close I was to not bothering, and I wonder how the whole course of everything in my life would be drastically different.

My freshman year we did Les Miserable at CHS, and I auditioned with a song from the Music Man. I literally did not know any other musical songs. “Gary, Indiana.” I remember being told by a couple of really cute senior girls that they thought I did really well and I just slid down in my seat, incredibly embarrassed. I thought they were being facetious. I didn’t sing. I got into the show, though, and it was an incredibly experience. That show gave me a lot of the confidence that has been my blessing/curse in the years between now and then. I can pinpoint the exact moment. I had ONE (count it, one) solo line in the entire show. I was determined not to screw it up. Practiced it ALL the time. So we’re running through the scene and I sing my line and a little bit after it we stop. Kank (our director) stops and says “Legs, that was really great,” and our Cosgrove (choir director) nods. It was that exact moment that I thought “maybe I can sing.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

I wonder if we are somewhat predestined to fall into our passions one way or another, but it’s hard to see me doing theatre and music like I have without that one chance elective. I still love 12th night (I’m super excited to see UI do it in the spring–what a fantastic excuse to get up to Moscow).

I tend to think that it wasn’t a given that I would find the music, because I didn’t get to it until later than many people and even now my understanding is dwarfed by most people who do it regularly. It’s given me a lot of extra confidence in myself, and shaped me in ways I can see and undoubtedly many more besides.

Be happy for the happy chance that has given you chances to fall into things you love. And if you haven’t found your passions yet, I encourage to keep on searching. Totally worth it.




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