Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spearmint on Stage

New haircut (Yay, my bangs are back!)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It's International Fluevog Day today! I'm planning to go to the Melrose store later, and I should have a writeup of the event in a day or two. In the meantime, here's an outfit post for you.

Dress: Monteau Los Angeles via ModclothMaryjanes: Fluevog Malibran (Operetta family) via Amazon


Fluevog | Amazon

Have I shared this dress here before? My husband gave it to me for Xmas a few months ago. If you're a longtime reader, you might recognize that it's the same exact style as three other dresses I own (1 | 2 | 3). It's obviously a favorite, and I want more in different fabrics!

I wore this simple outfit last Saturday evening, when I had to perform at the Spring Recital for a local performing arts academy. I haven't mentioned it here before, but I started taking private singing lessons a couple of months ago. I used to sing regularly in choirs and a band during high school and college, and I missed it. It's been a lot of fun, but I had forgotten how nerve-racking it was to perform on stage in front of strangers (and friends, too) -- or at least, the idea of it was. The couple of weeks beforehand were pretty stressful, and I'd get butterflies in my stomach every time I thought about performing. Waiting in the wings right before my turn had my heart pumping so fast and hard that I wondered if I'd be able to push my voice out. But once I got up on stage, I surprised myself by how lucid I felt. The audience helped, since they were very nice to everyone who performed. My voice felt shaky in the beginning, but I managed to calm down enough to hit the few difficult parts of the song. (I sang "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy. Not my choice since I'd never heard the song before, but my instructor said it was a good fit for my voice.)

The only problem was the accompaniment, since the pianist never bothered to learn the song beforehand. He kept giving excuses not to play whenever there was rehearsal, and I had a very bad feeling when he was late for call time so no one got to practice their song live. He's the piano instructor, and he messed up the songs of EVERY student he played for except his own students (he was just fine for his own jazz performances). I felt so bad for one of the teenage girls who sang in a totally different key than the one the pianist was playing. Seriously, he couldn't have tested out the key beforehand with the singer so he could transpose? What a jack***! That's why you practice beforehand! It takes a ton of courage to get up there and perform, and even more so when you're that young. She looked devastated by the end, and even the loud applause didn't help. :-(

After watching the footage (my husband video-recorded my piece), I'll say that my song didn't sound as bad as I feared. Most of the audience were probably just relieved that there wasn't another mishap with conflicting voice/piano. My dear friend M who came to watch the show said that it sounded perfect to her (her word, not mine; that's why she's one of my best friends, right!). I was able to stay on pitch the whole time since I asked for the first notes, I knew that song front-to-back, and I had the advantage of many more years of singing experience over the other singers, who were all half my age or less! But I had to improvise a bit when the pianist added extra measures between verses -- the worst was when he killed the momentum leading into the bridge -- and then just played the same tune over and over again at the end when he couldn't figure out how to follow me tempo-wise. (He must have lost his way in the sheet music. Seriously?!) At a certain point, the piano sounded like a march, beat, beat, beat, beat. And he was simply not slowing down at all at the end, the place in a ballad when you're supposed to slow down. Again, that's why you practice beforehand! Ugh.

Lesson learned: insist more strongly on using the karaoke version (the version my instructor had was actually good) if something like that ever happens again. Also, never bring my son to this guy if I want my son to learn piano. I'm probably spoiled by all the talented musicians I've met and played with in my life, but it boggles my mind that this guy is the instructor for a performing arts academy.

Anyway, thanks for reading through this rant. I'm glad I did the performance, and I'm glad to be back singing in front of people again. For the next post, I promise I'll have more pleasant things to talk about!

xo, Gladys

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