For the Criminally Inane

For the Criminally Inane

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Embarrassing Moment AKA Why I don't sing solos.

I was going to title this my Most Embarrassing Moment, but My Most Embarrassing Moment is a secret that I will never publish on-line.  Sorry.  It's going to stay safely between me and my journal and the other witnesses who shall remain nameless.  So this is my Second Most Embarrassing Moment.

Actually, I should probably title this my Most Humiliating Moment because after doing years of weird plays in theatre, I don't embarrass easily--I do get humbled quite a bit.  

Let me set the scene.  High school.  Small town.  County fair.  Singing contest.

Yeah, you're cringing already aren't you.  My skin shivers at the memory. 

My aunt is like a really great singer.  Not the break the glass kind of singer you see on stage or on Youtube.  She's a "Will you sing at Uncle Hershal's funeral?" type of singer.  Her music is full of soul.  And she's a great lady.  At least, I think her motives were pure when she convinced me to sing in the contest in our county fair.  She was giving me singing lessons, which must've been like teaching a goose to sound like a finch, but she persisted.  And in the end of the lessons, I sounded--okay.

I wasn't afraid to get in front of people.  I'd done some pretty crazy stuff on stage before and after this event, not even phased.  I wasn't nervous to wear a costume or to dance.  Done both of those.  But I had never sung a solo before.  EVER!!!

Or since I might add.

So the day of the County Fair.  We arrive at the grounds and find a bathroom to change.  We wander through a maze of tables set up with Four-H hopefuls.  Scores of billowy, pillowy rolls, cookies, sewing projects, garden veggies all set up for judging.

In the bathroom, after smearing a weeks worth of foundation on my face, I change into my flower girl costume with my nighty underneath.  I was going to sing a combination of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady.

I get up on stage and Miss Utah and some other local nobility are the judges.  Miss Utah has long gorgeous hair pinned up in a bun with her pen.  In the audience is half my drama department, plus their parents.  People I know and care about in the two years we'd lived there.

I started out fine.  I had a coat over the nightgown, had a flower basket and my hair tucked into my hat.  In a cockney accent (and my cockney is pretty good) I asked the audience if they wanted a "fla-er for ya lay-dee?"  Then sang my first song.  All went well.  During the transition, I shed my coat, dropped the basket and released my once long hair from the hat until it went cascading down my back.  I started the second song.  I noticed something.  I couldn't hear the piano or myself.  The feedback on the mike blocked out any reference point in terms of listening.  There was about a two second lag.  But I carried on.  Because maybe that was normal, maybe I should know the song well enough that I should be able to sing it without even hearing it.  I was gearing up to the end and I belt out "All night!"

I finished, triumphant!   

The audience gave a collective cringe.

Or maybe it was just my aunt.

Or just me as the two second lag came as clear as anything.

I was off.  WAAAAAAAAAAY off.  It wasn't even close to the notes I was supposed to sing.  If we were playing horseshoes, I wouldn't even be in the box.  I sang the whole song perfectly and got down to the last two notes and they were so off that, that, even I heard they were off. There is probably some moral to that story, but I'm not sure what it is.

My face burned with shame as I gathered up my costume and slunk down into the audience to watch a senior guy from my theatre department go up, and since he was a last minute entry, sang a song right out of the book.  It was Phantom of the Opera "Music of the Night."  HE READ IT OUT OF THE BOOK!  Stood there, stock still, singing like it was some kind of audition.  In fact, I'd seen his auditions and his auditions were more planned and prepared.

In the end, I won second place.  Yup.  I got a medal and like, a certificate and maybe even ten bucks cash for all my stress and worry. You might think, wow, second place that's not bad.  Yeah, second place.  There were three competitors. The other two tied for first.