Friday, January 14, 2011

From Kate Black, ESCAPE FROM THE HALTSBURG BOYS CHOIR's plucky mastermind Johanne

This is a great story. Might be one of my favorite blog posts ever.

Kate Black leads the Escape (center). Also pictured: Liz Goodson (top) and Alyse Kittner (shot with an arrow).

So, funny story... I had no idea what I was getting into when I went to the audition for Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir. Like... seriously. No idea. I thought it was a straight play where the characters periodically spoke in prose. Does that make sense? No. Of course not. However, this is what I thought I was auditioning for when I awkwardly walked into the Side Project Theatre back in August. My first indication that something was amiss was the man walking in with a giant keyboard and being referred to as the "accompanist." "Accompanying what?" I thought. My second indication were the girls coming in with sheet music and quietly practicing scales. Even my slow brain comprehended the significance of that. I wanted to turn around and run. Unfortunately, I had already checked in with a really nice guy in the front and they had my name. Maybe the only thing worse than being a no show is showing up and *then* dashing for the door. So that was it, I was stuck. I looked down at the check in sheet and saw at the bottom of a list of questions about our scheduling conflicts the request to "Tell us a joke." I thought only briefly and then wrote, "I didn't know this was a musical! HAHAAA...ha..."

Being called into the room was sort of a blur, doing my monologue is still a very hazy memory, but what I remember quite clearly is the look on everyone's faces when I sheepishly said, "I don't have a song...?" I saw a lot of confusion and puzzled, "How could we have been clearer?" faces but not a SINGLE face of judgment- which may be the only reason I didn't run out of the room crying like a psycho. It was that moment that it occured to me- this may be the moment that my year of taking voice lessons had prepared me for. While I still had a momentous fear of singing in front of people, I had the forsight in the summer of 2009 to start taking voice lessons in an effort to conquer my fear. This was the moment I had procrastinated: singing in front of a group of people who weren't my voice teacher. The truth is, I may have never gotten up the balls to go to an audition for a musical if I hadn't stumbled upon it so strangely. So I looked at those puzzled faces and said, "Can I sing something a capella?" Suddenly enthused by the idea they all agreed and couldn't have been nicer about it.

I don't remember singing. I remember having a moment in the middle where I thought, "This doesn't sound terrible!" but that was about it. The next thing I vividly recall was walking to the Jarvis red line stop and calling my mom and telling her I just made the biggest ass out of myself at an audition and after hearing my story, she somewhat jokingly suggested I move out of the city immediately to protect my image.

Today, I am Johanne. The boy with the "golden voice." This experience has made me a stronger person and certainly a braver artist. Life has a way of surprising you, and if you don't actively seek out challenges, it will periodically demand you stand up to them when it throws them at you. And thank God/Buddha/Karma/Fate for that.

See, what did I tell you? Great story. Come see Kate sing (rather beautifully, I might add) between now and January 30th. She's the tops.

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